Solace

Solace

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As tender as it is heartbreaking, this is a brilliant debut from an exciting new voice in Irish fiction.

Mark Casey has left home, the rural community where his family has farmed for generations, to study for a doctorate in Dublin, a vibrant, contemporary city full of possibility.

To his father, Tom, who needs help baling the hay and ploughing the fields, Mark's pursuit isn't work at all and indeed he finds himself whiling away his time with pubs and parties. His is a life without focus or responsibility, until he meets Joanne Lynch, a trainee solicitor whom he finds irresistible.

Joanne too has a past to escape and for a brief time they share the chaos and rapture of a new love affair, until the lightning strike of tragedy changes everything.

Belinda McKeon is a startling new talent in the great Irish mould, and "Solace" is a work to be admired equally for its spare, intense lyricism as for its range, understanding, and deeply compassionate portrayal of life as it is lived now.