ADVANCE PRAISE FOR GRACE
“A beautifully written novel with a haunting story and deep echoes of the Ancients”.
— Edna O’Brien
“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
PRAISE FOR THE BLACK SNOW
“A brilliant, hypnotic book. You will lose yourself in the sounds and rhythms — Lynch makes the page sing like the old masters”.
— Philipp Meyer, author of The Son
“Wonderful. The Black Snow is a staggeringly beautiful book. Immensely powerful, but subtly so. I was mesmerized by it. I read it in one go, but I’ll go back to it for sure.”
— Kevin Powers, author of Letter Composed During a Lull in the Fighting and The Yellow Birds
“Lynch establishes himself as one of his generation’s very finest novelists. The Black Snow is a dark, mesmerizing study in obsession, despair, and secrets too long held”.
— Ron Rash, author of Serena
“‘The Black Snow’ is a lyrical landscape of hope and menace… he’s working at an even higher level of accomplishment than before. As Lynch presents the story, it becomes an out of the ordinary creation, a novel in which sentence after sentence comes so beautifully alive in all the fullness of its diction and meaning that most other contemporary Irish fiction looks sheepish by comparison. Lynch’s language is rough-hewn and yet beautifully lyrical, uncommonly conducted with as many vowels as consonants, and thus diverging from the raw piercing strength of traditional Celtic diction. I could scarcely read more than a few pages at a time without having to stop and contemplate quitting the writing of fiction myself, rather than compete with passages like Lynch’s description of doomed farmhand Matthew Peoples… Through this landscape of hope and menace Barnabas Kane trundles, a good man hampered by stubbornness, pride and a gargantuan lack of empathy for his wife and son; at one point he risks everything in his life rather than suffer embarrassment. Sentence by sentence we read about how his world comes apart, even as Lynch’s striking language, located somewhere between that of Irish Nobel poet Seamus Heaney and our own Cormac McCarthy, binds everything together — nature, character, time and the wild paradoxical aspiration of a novelist driven to try and make sense out of the inexplicable.”
— Alan Cheuse, NPR (radio and online)
“Paul Lynch’s The Black Snow is, like its predecessor, Red Sky in Morning, a fierce and stunning novel written in chiaroscuro; its darkness always threatening to absorb its light. The Irish author’s gnarled, lustrous prose style is peppered with local vernacular; his literary sensibility an ornate version of the American Gothic of McCarthy and Faulkner. Throw in an elastic attitude to grammar and all of this has a thrillingly defamiliarizing effect: though he’s writing in English, Lynch makes you feel like you’ve magically acquired the ability to understand a foreign language…”
— Emily Donaldson, The Toronto Star
“Lynch is masterful. Layer by layer he teases out character and context, alternating action and reflection to get to the essences of Barnabas, Eskra and Billy, the growing horror of their plight, their interlinked tragic destinies…. This is a considerable achievement in itself, and if the story were told plainly and simply we would have a story that John McGahern, say, or Frank O’Connor in one of his colder moments could have written. The triumph of this book is the uncanny uses to which Lynch puts language. Prose is more often concerned to reassure us that the world is manageable and intelligible than it is to face up to the cold truth that life beyond our immediate hearth is largely mysterious and beyond our powers of comprehension. Prose writers who can ground us in what we know while opening our minds to the vast unknown are few. In our time the name that springs most readily to mind is Cormac McCarthy… we can add Paul Lynch to a short list. In paragraphs that have the icy precision of prose poems, he opens the world out into halls of space and time that will send shivers through your blood…. I read this book sentence by sentence, sounding the words to myself, savouring the pleasure of the writing. It is the writing itself, not the bare circumstances of the story, that nerves us to face the cold place to which Lynch, with uncanny mastery, conducts us”
— Theo Dorgan, The Sunday Times
“With his second novel, Lynch has a Seamus Heaney ear for the sights and sounds of rural life, making his prose thick and jagged, sometimes ponderous and often evocative. Lynch evokes so many shades of guilt, pride, innocence, righteousness, and punishment that the book might help found a religion….”
— Kirkus, starred review
“Lynch paints an excruciating portrait of a family’s unraveling that is at once so starkly brutal and so beautiful that it is impossible to look away… A stunning tale of retribution and disintegration”.
“A stark tale of tragic consequences…Lynch’s beautifully intertwined emotional and physical landscapes have a timelessness”.
— Publishers Weekly
“This is only Mr Lynch’s second novel, but to read it is to relax into the reassuring embrace of a master storyteller. Few novels capture a reader as quickly and completely as The Black Snow. Lynch has an extraordinary gift of assimilating simple words into the most beautiful sentences that are at once effortlessly fresh and natural… This is a riveting book that is hard to put down… There is a poetic, unlaboured beauty in every sentence. Lynch is an exciting new talent to rival masters like William Trevor.
— New York Journal of Books
“Some of the most beautiful writing I have ever read. Vivid, unsettling and intensely enjoyable”.
— Donal Ryan, author of The Spinning Heart
“The Black Snow underlines the extent of Lynch’s dazzling prose gifts…. a born storyteller [and] a terrific contemporary example of the art form…. [it] reinvents the pastoral novel in a daring and nuanced way. Lynch already shows all the signs of being one of the most exciting new talents in Irish literature.”
— Eamon Sweeney, The Sunday Business Post
“Hewed from granite-like, starkly poetic prose… a tough and sinewy tragedy”.
“Raw, savage… tender… Lynch has an impressive gift for storytelling. As the separate strings of the novel are tightened and pulled together into an assured ending, this becomes a version of Donegal that has not been written before. The Irish vernacular is here, in all its intonation, but it almost sounds like a distant, musical echo of itself, as though the language in which the story is being told has travelled across the plains of America, through many other time zones, before taking root again in the native soil.”
— Hugo Hamilton, The Guardian
“Powerful, rich and ornate… Barnabas Kane is a classic tragic hero…. The striking talent of its author is his ability to reinvent the English language and use words as no one has before… There is a magic to this kind of writing”.
— The Irish Times
“His prose is astounding: lyrical, precise and poetic throughout, it has a sparseness that aligns well with the austere, hard land he is describing so well”.
— History Today
“The Black Snow is an elegant, thought-stirring novel about loss and striving, about suspicion and guilt, and the questions that, in the end, rise above all others: Who am I? Where do I belong?”
— Literary Review
“A joy of this book is the way Paul Lynch develops a distinctive poetic register to describe the anthropomorphic hostility of nature. Haunting… heartbreaking.”
— The Tablet
“A memorable novel of endurance and the aftermath of tragedy”
— Library Journal
“Red Sky in Morning already showed the vast talent of Paul Lynch. The Donegal native illustrates again with a second opus equally successful… a novel that grabs you from the start”.
— Alexandre Fillon, Livres Hebdo
“A novel about an Ireland that I recognize, and that all writers should envy. “
— Robert McLiam Wilson
PRAISE FOR RED SKY IN MORNING
“Paul Lynch’s startling, evocative prose veers closer to poetry…. A wonderful achievement. A thrilling plot is expressed in the most beautiful, idiosyncratic style.”
— Kristoffer Mullin, The Sunday Times
“It is written in tones that are sumptuous and poetic, so I am savouring the book sentence by sentence. Lynch’s sense of the period, and the huge disruptions in society which affected every single character, is clever and well informed, but he has taken a real and fascinating risk with the style”.
— Colm Tóibín, The Guardian
“A compulsive read.… a combination of the poetic and the vicious. It unabashedly uses a 21st-century sensibility to subvert the conventions of the ‘historical’ novel”
— Arminta Wallace, Irish Times
“A novel of distinction”
— John Boland, Irish Independent
“You find yourself in the hands of a lapidary young master”
— Alan Cheuse, All Things Considered, NPR (US)
“Red Sky in Morning is queasy reading at first, and readers unfamiliar with this loquacious strain of Irish fiction may not stick around long enough to experience the rich intoxication it eventually produces. They should, though, because a debut as passionate as this one is a transporting experience.”
— Steve Donoghue, The Washington Post
“Lynch’s language, which is musical, close, and alive, evokes something that seems quintessentially Irish….His combination of nightmarish poetry and heart-racing plot is what makes Red Sky in Morning so compelling, like a gorgeous, terrifying ghost story. You’ll want to close your eyes and cover your ears, but find you can’t turn away.”
— Damaris Colhoun, The Daily Beast
“One the year’s most striking debuts… the gnarled beauty of Lynch’s poetic prose makes this novel a singular achievement.
— Emily Donaldson, The Toronto Star, books of the year
“Wonderfully inventive use of language and cinematic vision… a startlingly original page-turner”
— Donal Ryan, Irish Times books of the Year
“This rewarding debut has the feel of a classic American western…. Lynch’s prose is sharply observed, and his themes are elemental and powerful: the violence of existence, the illusion of choice in a fatalistic universe.”
— Publishers Weekly, Star Review (US)
“A novel of great beauty.”
— Kirkus, Star Review (US)
“Just another substantiation of the adage that the Irish can really, really write. If Dublin-based Lynch’s taut, absorbing, acerbically lyrical prose weren’t enough, there’s the intense and revelatory plot.
— Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal (US)
“Bears comparison to Colum McCann’s Transatlantic… rendered in startlingly beautiful prose, not unlike the themes and style of Cormac McCarthy. This is strong stuff.”
— Mark Levine, Booklist (US)
“Lynch writes with a poetic sensibility, definitely influenced by the grand tradition of Irish writing, but also very distinctive in its rhythm and effect. A sentence of this author’s descriptive prose has the anxious stilt and inevitable propulsion of a broken locomotive… literary debuts of this level of accomplishment are rare.
— Steven Carroll, The Canberra Times
“Not many writers can keep their readers through more than 200 pages of unremittingly bleak harshness, but Paul Lynch does so in this outstanding first novel.”
— Frank O’Shea, The Sydney Morning Herald
“A literary star is born… Red Sky in Morning is an epic tale of murder, pursuit, and oppression… vividly drawn, beautifully written, and propulsive from the get-go. It’s a thumping good read — and a real heartbreaker”
— Image magazine
“The novel is a lush and vivid read…. beautiful and frequently thrilling.”
— The Sunday Business Post
“Beautifully written… a massive new voice”
— Brian McGilloway, The Book Programme, BBC Radio Ulster
“Lynch’s searingly dark lyricism is redolent of Cormac McCarthy at his most gothic… an arresting new voice in Irish fiction”
“Muscular and opulent… the novel is ripe with spookily vivid writing. A very stylishly written book that takes the Irish novel into quite a different genre”
— The Examiner
Very poignant… Red Sky in Morning is a riveting read. A raw, beautiful book.
— Historical Novel Society
“Mesmerizing. Paul Lynch is a writer with a distinctive and exhilarating style. A stunning debut novel, Red Sky in Morning is a beautifully written, engaging story. A writer with a great future.”
— The Book Bag
“A powerful, lyrical novel. [Lynch] writes beautifully too: you’ll find yourself re-reading sentences just to savour the gorgeous prose.”
— Hot Press
“Paul Lynch has a sensational gift for a sentence, inherited from the likes of Cormac McCarthy, Sebastian Barry and Daniel Woodrell. He is a writer to watch out for, staking a bid for a territory all his own”
— Colum McCann, author of Let The Great World Spin
“Paul Lynch’s writing is full of dark invention and brutal beauty. A raw and audacious talent which grips Irish writing by the neck”
— Hugo Hamilton, author of The Speckled People
‘This book makes the literary synapses spark and burn. Forged in his own new and wonderful language, Paul Lynch reaches to the root, branch and bole of things, and unfurls a signal masterpiece’
— Sebastian Barry, author of The Secret Scripture
‘Classic storytelling, rough and haunted people and the times that made them, powerfully conjured, written in language that demands attention. Lynch is bardic, given to sly and inspired word selections, with his own sprung rhythms and angled, stark musicality’
— Daniel Woodrell, author of Winter’s Bone
“A textured thriller straight from the torment of Ireland’s 19th century. Paul Lynch delivers a raw ancient world that Dickens would have recognized, and Roberto Bolano too.”
— Peter Behrens, author of The Law of Dreams
“Good god — just finished Paul Lynch’s Red Sky in Morning. Devastating. Gnashing teeth and pulling hair — loved it.”
— Evie Wyld (on Twitter), author of All The Birds, Singing
“The art of the storytelling is so impressive, the writing so poetic, painful and beautiful at the same time, that it makes for a unique reading experience”
— Bruno Corty , Le Figaro (France)
“The language is rich, sophisticated, lyrical and violent at the same time… a first novel worthy of Cormac McCarthy, Saul Bellow, John Banville, Colum McCann, Vladimir Nabokov, or authors of such legacy.”
— Emmanuel Romer, La Croix (France)
“The most astonishing first novel of the year. At the point of writing, already among the greatest talents of Irish literature”
— Julien Bisson, Lire (France)
“The new guard of Irish letters never ceases to fascinate with its visionary power. To these names must immediately be added Paul Lynch, because his first novel is simply masterful
— André Clavel, Le Temps (Switzerland)
Nothing is missing in this transcontinental western, written by a master of landscape and light”
— Véronique Rossignol, Livres Hebdo (France)
“This first novel by an extraordinary writer has received a tremendous reception in the Anglo-Saxon world. The bet is that he will be as successful in France, where such talent will not fail to burst into the open”
— Sophie Royere , Lemagazine.info (France)
“A dark poetry infuses this first novel of sound and fury. A young writer promised to a brilliant future”
— Le Journal du Dimance
“In a few words: the craftsmanship of a great stylist”
— La Quinzaine Littéraire
“The beauty of his writing imbued with lyricism is dazzling”
“Influenced and nourished by a past more mythical than historical, “Red Sky in Morning” is as contemporary a novel as it can be. Its rhythms and its visions, and its suspense, come from our age’s visual and cinematographic culture. With its mixed influences, its shattered geography which opens on the beginnings of America and modernity, this novel blends irreconcilable temporalities”
— Le Monde de Livres
“There is in Paul Lynch’s writing a kind of lyrical and poetic fever which transcends everything, including the most harrowing scenes. Red Sky in Morning takes us on such a journey that when we come to the end, we feel like we have dreamed it all”
— Les Echoes
“An amazing first novel, strikingly beautiful, with a nervous pace that takes the reader on an unforgettable journey”
“Clear and intense as a tragedy, the novel reveals in Paul Lynch an incredibly talented Irish writer”
— Trois Couleurs