Big Girl, Small Town (Paperback)
  • Big Girl, Small Town (Paperback)
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Big Girl, Small Town (Paperback)

(author)
£9.99
Paperback 320 Pages
Published: 18/02/2021
  • 5+ in stock

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Waterstones Says

Gallen’s darkly hilarious story about small-town life, mostly set in a chip shop, is a triumphant mix of deadpan humour and everyday heartbreak.

Shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award 2020

Shortlisted for the Comedy Women in Print Prize 2020

Routine makes Majella's world small but change is about to make it a whole lot bigger.

Stuff Majella knows:
-God doesn't punish men with baldness for wearing ladies' knickers
-Banana-flavoured condoms taste the same as nutrition shakes
-Not everyone gets a volley of gunshots over their grave as they are being lowered into the ground

Stuff Majella doesn't know:
-That she is autistic
-Why her ma drinks
-Where her da is

Other people find Majella odd. She keeps herself to herself, she doesn't like gossip and she isn't interested in knowing her neighbours' business. But suddenly everyone in the small town in Northern Ireland where she grew up wants to know all about hers.

Since her da disappeared during the Troubles, Majella has tried to live a quiet life with her alcoholic mother. She works in the local chip shop (Monday-Saturday, Sunday off), wears the same clothes every day (overalls, too small), has the same dinner each night (fish and chips, nuked in the microwave) and binge watches Dallas (the best show ever aired on TV) from the safety of her single bed. She has no friends and no boyfriend and Majella thinks things are better that way.

But Majella's safe and predictable existence is shattered when her grandmother dies and as much as she wants things to go back to normal, Majella comes to realise that maybe there is more to life. And it might just be that from tragedy comes Majella's one chance at escape.

Publisher: John Murray Press
ISBN: 9781529304220
Number of pages: 320
Weight: 220 g
Dimensions: 196 x 128 x 28 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

It's a smasher - Kathy Burke

A thrillingly fresh, provocative and touching voice - Marian Keyes

Milkman meets Derry Girls. A cracking read - Sinead Moriarty

Bawdy yet beautiful, full of everyday tragedy, absurdity and truth. I grew extraordinarily attached to Majella - Sara Baume

Wild and engrossing . . . unexpected and wonderful - Roddy Doyle, Irish Times

The funniest debut I've ever read - Claudia Carroll

I loved Majella from the first page . . . Utterly brilliant and deliciously hilarious! With humour, wit and beauty, Gallen subtly unveils a violence and conflict that lies beneath, exploring the legacy of the Troubles and the deeply felt effects through generations - Christy Lefteri

What a voice: I felt as though I knew Majella intimately by the end . . . Big Girl, Small Town is a darkly hilarious novel about small-town life, which manages to be wildly entertaining despite being mostly set in a chip shop - a fine place in which to loiter with such a filthy, funny, clever companion - Guardian

It's the humour, dry and gritty, that sets Big Girl, Small Town apart . . . to think that this is Michelle Gallen's debut is astonishing, as Majella's narration is bold and assured . . . evocative, caustic and compelling - Sunday Business Post

Northern Ireland is currently producing more exceptional writers per square inch than possibly anywhere else . . . Michelle Gallen will most certainly earn her place in the honours list. Big Girl, Small Town is even funnier than Derry Girls, while being just as fraught as Anna Burns's Booker Prize winner - Sunday Independent

A winning evocation of a small Irish community whose people burst from its pages. Engaging and satisfying - Daily Mail

Superb - Irish Examiner

Captivating . . . a confident debut with a very memorable protagonist in Majella - Irish Times

Darkly funny - Mail on Sunday

Gallen's debut deserves comparisons with Anna Burns' Milkman for its depiction of the impact of the Troubles on a vulnerable young woman but this terrifically imagined tender black comedy is very much its own book - Metro

Charming . . . there is an easy warmth to Big Girl, Small Town - Sunday Times

Gallen's unrelenting eye for the bizarre and Coughlan's talent for deadpanning make it an absolute winner - Financial Times

Sensational . . . Gallen's effortless immersion into a gritty, endlessly bittersweet world packs a dizzying punch - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

An irreverent portrait of small-town Northern Ireland that is both bleakly and uproariously funny - Kirkus

Majella is a nuanced and complicated heroine, reliant on routines and largely dismissive of change. Infused with local diction, inflection, and slang, her voice envelops readers in the sounds of small-town Ireland - Booklist (starred review)

Majella is a compelling character caught in a fascinating slice of time, and her journey is exquisitely rendered. With echoes of Gail Honeyman's Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine crossed with the 1990s-set British sitcom Derry Girls, this debut is recommended for fans of Ottessa Moshfegh, Emma Donoghue, and Sally Rooney - Library Journal (starred review)

Hugely charming - Irish Independent

[A]n inventively foulmouthed gem of a novel . . . a novel that is, above all, an intimate portrait of a peculiar - and peculiarly resilient - woman who is fated to notice everything and forget nothing - Wall Street Journal

An immensely lovable debut novel - Washington Post

Gallen's darkly comic debut is an unforgettable portrait of a young woman whose rich internal life offers a brilliantly observed commentary on her bleak surroundings - Daily Mail

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“Simply Superb!”

I totally adored this book by Michelle Gallen. I was surprised to learn this is the author’s first novel - a magnificent début set in a small, close-knit town in Northern Ireland, called Aghybogey. The book follows a... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 32

““I’ll batter yer sausage if you’re not careful now.””

I didn’t really know what to make of this when I finished it. But it’s been forty-two days and I’ve thought about Majella during every one of them.

I urge you to read this, it’s grim and dirty and downright... More

Hardback edition
2 similar books recommended
Helpful? Upvote 23

“Loved it”

I really enjoyed this book and I am hoping for a follow up. The story is a snapshot of Majella’s life, and we also learn about her past too. There is so much detail you really feel like you know her. The language used... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 22

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