The New York Times Book Review has selected GRACE as an Editors’ Choice book, saying: “The Irish writer’s third novel raises timeless questions about suffering and survival through the story of two children expelled from their impoverished home in the midst of the Great Famine. When you’re starving, Lynch seems to be asking, are you truly alive?”
GRACE debuted in the US on 11 July 2017 to much praise, from reviewers in publications as wide-ranging as The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, Esquire, The Boston Globe, Publishers Weekly and more. Grace will be published in Ireland on 7 September 2017 and in the UK on 21 September.
The novel has been selected as an Editors’ Choice pick in the New York Times Book Review: “The Irish writer’s third novel raises timeless questions about suffering and survival through the story of two children expelled from their impoverished home in the midst of the Great Famine. When you’re starving, Lynch seems to be asking, are you truly alive?”
In the Washington Post, Jon Michaud called ‘Grace’ “a moving work of lyrical and at times hallucinatory beauty…. a picaresque that reads like a hybrid of John Steinbeck’s ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ and Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Road'”.
In The Boston Globe, Margot Livesey said that “Grace’’ belongs to several great traditions — the picaresque novel, the coming-of-age novel, and the orphan novel…. Not surprisingly “Grace’’ is a relentless novel, but Lynch allows his heroine a true complexity of feeling — about her brother, her mother, Bart, and what she sees happening around her — that allows the reader to empathize even as we wring our hands. ‘Grace’’ is not only a gripping tale about an appalling period in history — although that would be quite enough — but also, sadly, piercingly relevant; this year in East Africa 20 million people are facing starvation.”
Esquire magazine called ‘Grace’ “one of the best books of the year so far”. It was a Book of the Week in Publishers Weekly, as well as receiving a starred review in both PW and Kirkus.
In an interview, the Sunday Times said, “Grace combines the picaresque coming-of-age adventures of Voltaire’s Candide with the post-apocalyptism of Cormac McCarthy’s Road and the epic expanse of Homer’s The Odyssey.”
For a full round-up, click here.
GRACE, with a starred review in Publishers Weekly, is also a book of the week. With publication next week in the US, here is the advance praise of the book from the book trade press and authors.
“[Grace] feels as though it has already claimed its place among great Irish literature”
“A gifted Irish author…. This is a writer who wrenches beauty even from the horror that makes a starving girl think her “blood is trickling over the rocks of my bones.”
— Kirkus, starred review.
“Wonderful… heart-wrenching.. Lynch’s powerful, inventive language intensifies the poignancy of the woe that characterizes this world of have-nothings struggling to survive.”
— Publishers Weekly, starred review. Book of the week.
““Grace is a masterful sequel to Red Sky in Morning; a beautifully written, lyrical portrait of a young girl coming of age during the Great Famine. Lynch’s Ireland is a land of sadness, harsh reality and starvation, yet there is beauty found in the air, the sky and even the insects. The prose flows like good Irish whiskey and compels readers to keep drinking in Lynch’s words; sometimes so poetic they read like a James Joyce novel.”
— RT Book Reviews.
“In celebrated Irish novelist Lynch’s (The Black Snow, 2015) latest tale, Grace is harshly thrust out into the world by her mother, who can think of no other way to protect her blossoming 14-year-old… As her hardscrabble odyssey continues, she begins to develop in unexpected ways, her eyes opening to both ruthless reality and limitless possibilities. Growing into womanhood as a wanderer, Grace rises above cruel circumstances to control her own destiny in remarkably surprising directions, casting new light on this grim and pivotal era in Irish history.”
– Library Journal—
“A beautifully written novel with a haunting story and deep echoes of the Ancients”.
— Edna O’Brien
“A terrible beauty: Paul Lynch’s Grace is a shudderingly well-written, dead-real, hallucinatory trip across Famine Ireland”.
— Emma Donoghue
“As McCarthy answered Faulkner, Lynch offers the most convincing answer to McCarthy that we’ve seen yet in literature. Lynch sacrifices none of the rigor and menace while summoning an emotional power that leaves one stunned at times. Grace is a novel of surpassing beauty and moral weight, and Lynch is a prodigious talent, with a sorcerer’s command of the language and an extraordinary artistic integrity. This is a masterwork.”
— Matthew Thomas, New York Times-bestselling author of We Are Not Ourselves
“A mesmerizing, incandescent work of art. It’s all things together — a tragedy, an adventure, a romance, a coming-of-age, a searing exposition of historical truths; an interrogation of the nature of time and existence. Above all it’s a perfect story, an exhilarating, Odyssean, heart-pounding, glorious story, wrought by a novelist with the eye and the ear and the heart of an absolute master. Paul Lynch is peerless. Grace Coyle, daughter of Coll, will be one of the enduring heroines of world literature.”
— Donal Ryan, Booker-nominated author of The Spinning Heart.
“The power of Paul Lynch’s imagination is truly startling; his ability to inhabit and deeply understand the moments, both slight and shattering, of a life and of an era translates into an instinct not just for story, but for the most hidden, most forceful currents of language and what they can do.”
— Belinda McKeon, author of Tender
“Grace is fierce wonder, a journey that moves with the same power and invention as the girl at its center. What Paul Lynch brings to these pages is more than mere talent—it’s a searing commitment to story and soul, and in witnessing Grace’s transformations, one can’t help but feel changed too. This novel is faith, poetry, lament, and triumph; its mark is not only luminous, but it promises to never fade.”
– Affinity Konar, author of Mischling
“Grace is a thing of power and of wonder, from the savage scalp-shearing of its start, through pages of figurative and literal black, to the ‘good blue days’ of its end. Paul Lynch writes novels the way we need them to be written: as if every letter of every word mattered. This whole book is on fire.”
— Laird Hunt, author of The Evening Road
“If you took the most overwhelming and distilled moments of a life–those instants when even a small brush of the wind over a stream seems to speak to the whole problem of living–and scattered them along an Irish riverside during that country’s great famine, you might arrive at GRACE. This is a major work of lasting, powerful feelings that might find a place amidst your memories of Light in August and Huckleberry Finn.”
– Will Chancellor, author of A Brace Man Seven Storeys Tall
For the full list of PDFs of reviews and interviews in Italian, please visit:
Irlanda, 1832. Cacciato dalla fattoria in cui vive con la sua famiglia, il giovane Coll Coyle affronta Desmond Hamilton, il figlio del proprietario terriero. È un attimo fatale, e l’incontro si trasforma in tragedia. Il corpo senza vita di Hamilton giace ai piedi del suo cavallo, e a Coyle non resta altra scelta che fuggire. Gli sgherri del padrone, guidati da John Faller – «l’incarnazione del male razionale» –, danno inizio a una spietata caccia all’uomo. Spinto tra le terre paludose della contea di Donegal, Coyle scappa oltreoceano, in America, e trova lavoro nel cantiere di una ferrovia in Pennsylvania. Un viaggio folle, tra i morsi della fame e un’epidemia di colera; una fuga in cui il paesaggio, «silenzioso e sterminato», è sempre in primo piano. Cielo rosso al mattino è un’esplorazione del lato spietato dell’uomo: una storia di oppressione in cui è racchiusa tutta la ferocia dell’esistenza umana. Un racconto in cui la prosa, lirica e vibrante, evoca «una sorta di quintessenza irlandese».
Turin: Salone Internazionale del Libro di Torino
12.30 p.m. Presentation of Cielo rosso al mattino at the Book Fair. With Giorgio Vasta
Pavia: 6 p.m. Book presentation at Libreria Il Delfino
Milano: 6 p.m. presentation at Libreria Gogol, with Raffaele Riba
Rovereto: 19.00 presentation at Libreria Arcadia
Padova: 7 p.m. book presentation at Palazzo San Bonifacio. With Enrico Terrinoni
Firenze: 7.30 p.m. book presentation at Libreria la Cité. With Riccardo Michelucci and Susanna Nirenstein
Rome: 8 p.m. book presentation at Libreria Altroquando. With Luca Briasco
As we come closer to the 11 July, North American release of GRACE, the notoriously hard-to-please US book bible Kirkus has given the book its Kirkus Star — a much sought after designation in the US book industry. The Kirkus Star is reserved for “Books of Exceptional Merit”.
The book magazine says of GRACE:
“A gifted Irish author offers another take on his country’s Great Famine through the eyes of a teenage girl as she travels through a land wracked by want.
When a blight hits the potato harvest of 1845, a pregnant widow with four children seeks to spare her 14-year-old daughter, Grace, from hunger, maybe, but certainly from the appetites of her own insatiable lover. She cuts the girl’s hair, dresses her as a boy, and sends her off to seek work. Grace is soon joined by her irrepressible brother Colly, 12, who gives her a few lessons in maleness. Their time together is cut short when he is swept away in a teeming river as they try to salvage a drowned sheep. She lucks into work helping to herd cows, but betrayal and murder await down the drovers’ path. She joins a road crew, but her first period surprises and unmasks her, stirring unwanted interest. A fellow worker saves her from would-be rapists and travels with her on adventures that seem to cover about half of Ireland by foot. Their unmeasurable route is through deepening despair and the hell beyond mere hunger—“past want to a point that is longing narrowed down to the forgetting of all else”—and the descent into crime and then a blackness: indeed, four Sterne-like blank black pages to signify perhaps more than pen can write, even one as eloquent as Lynch’s (The Black Snow, 2015, etc.). Grace walks under “a sky of old cloth and the sun stained upon it.” Elsewhere, “the air is stitched with insects.” And sometimes Lynch seems to move beyond normal language: “A soul being loosened from a whin is shaped like a shout” (whin is gorse and the context is dead souls at dusk).
This is a writer who wrenches beauty even from the horror that makes a starving girl think her “blood is trickling over the rocks of my bones.”
Paul Lynch’s third novel GRACE will be published this year in North America on 11 July by Little, Brown; on 7 September in Ireland and the UK by Oneworld, and in April 2018 by Éditions Albin Michel in France.
GRACE, a sequel to RED SKY IN MORNING, is the epic story of a young girl and her brother on an Odyssean journey across 19th century Ireland on the eve of the Great Famine.
In advance praise, Edna O’Brien called GRACE “a beautifully written novel with a haunting story and deep echoes of the Ancients”.
Booker-nominated author Donal Ryan called GRACE “a mesmerizing, incandescent work of art. It’s all things together — a tragedy, an adventure, a romance, a coming-of-age, a searing exposition of historical truths; an interrogation of the nature of time and existence. Above all it’s a perfect story, an exhilarating, Odyssean, heart-pounding, glorious story, wrought by a novelist with the eye and the ear and the heart of an absolute master. Paul Lynch is peerless. Grace Coyle, daughter of Coll, will be one of the enduring heroines of world literature.”
The book’s synopsis is as follows: Early one October morning, Grace Coyle’s mother snatches her from sleep and brutally cuts off her hair, declaring, “You are the strong one now.” With winter close at hand and Ireland already suffering, Grace is no longer safe at home. And so her mother outfits Grace in men’s clothing and casts her out. When her younger brother Colly follows after her, the two set off on a life-changing odyssey in the looming shadow of the Great Famine.
To survive, Grace will become a boy, a bandit, a penitent and finally, a woman. A meditation on love, life and destiny, GRACE is an epic coming-of-age novel, and a poetic evocation of the Irish famine as it has never been written.
The Black Snow has been shortlisted for The 2016 Ireland Francophonie Ambassadors’ Literary Award.
The 2016 Ireland Francophonie Ambassadors’ Literary Award shortlist is:
John Banville, Ancient Light, Éditions Robert Laffont, 2014, translated by Michèle Albaret-Maatsch
Sebastian Barry, The Temporary Gentleman, Éditions Joëlle Losfeld, 2014, translated by Florence Lévy-Paoloni
Mary Costello, Academy Street, Éditions du Seuil, 2015, translated by Madeleine Nasalik
Eimear McBride, A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing, Buchet Chastel, 2015, translated by Georgina Tacou
Paul Lynch, Black Snow, Albin Michel, 2015, translated by Marina Boraso
Hugo Hamilton, Every Single Minute, Éditions Phébus, 2015, translated by Bruno Boudard.
RTE Radio 1’s The Book on One will broadcast on Monday 21 March my new short story — The Rage of O’Malley — commissioned by The Singing Fly for its special edition, In the Wake of the Rising, in which 43 writers respond to the cultural legacy of 1916.
The Book on One airs at 11.10pm. You can buy In the Wake of the Rising here. The Rage of O’Malley is the opening short story in the collection.
THE BLACK SNOW has won the French booksellers’ award, the Prix Libr’à Nous, for best foreign novel. More than 200 booksellers from France, Belgium, Switzerland, Morocco and francophone Canada voted in the award.
The award will be conferred in Paris on 10 February. The Black Snow, published as LA NEIGE NOIRE in France by Albin Michel, had also been nominated for the Prix FNAC and the Prix Femina.
In the same week, THE BLACK SNOW also won the inaugural Prix des Lecteurs Privat 2016. The prize was founded by Privat, one of France’s oldest bookshops — established in Toulouse in 1839. The jury voted from a list of 12 French and foreign novels released during France’s literary season, the rentrées littéaires 2015.
Prix Libr’à Nous:
Prix des Lecteurs Privat: