Grace by Paul Lynch
Imagine Cormac McCarthy’s All the Pretty Horses and L M Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables merged and you have the new novel from Paul Lynch
For the new novel from the award-winning Irish novelist Paul Lynch, imagine Cormac McCarthy’s All the Pretty Horses and L M Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables merged. The book follows the Odysseus-like journey of the eponymous Grace, forced out by her mother as the Great Famine starts to take its strong hold on Ireland. Grace’s hair is cut, her clothes are replaced and she enters the dark and dangerous, starving world, as a boy.
What follows is a journey into the harsh unknown with her brother Colly, an epic discovery of adulthood and self-hood in the shadow of one of Ireland's most ardous and distressing periods. Although Grace has 'strapped herself down and ragged herself shut', this novel details the true resilience of a country on her knees, and a girl binding herself to survive it.
A Dickensian coming-of-age novel, Lynch brings darkness to light, showing signs of hope and personal perseverance in a time of great struggle and desperation. Using nightmarish and often hallucinatory imagery, Lynch blends the bleakness of the Irish potato famine with true grit, and a personal struggle against cruel nature, beastly patriarchy, and the odds.
Harsh and raw, Grace is a beautifully honest and frighteningly poignant tale of blight and fight.