Midwinter Break (Paperback)Bernard MacLaverty (author)
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Longlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize 2018
Waterstones Fiction Book of the Month for January 2018
“This is not a story about old people,” Bernard MacLaverty told the Guardian. “It’s the story of two young people who got old and they have fallen out of step.”
After a hiatus of some sixteen years, the author of Cal and Grace Notes returns with a masterful dissection of a long life both shared and divided, a marriage where one party is happy with their lot and the other is yearning for something rather more.
In their past trots the stalking horse of an Ireland and the Troubles both Gerry and Stella have long turned their back on.
In their present, a long weekend in Amsterdam proves catalyst to a brilliant study of monogamy and the slow damage of compromise.
Born in Belfast, Bernard MacLaverty is a novelist and short-story writer who has also written radio and television plays, libretti and screenplays, most notably adapting his own novels Cal and Lamb for film. His publications include the novel Grace Notes, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and his Collected Stories.
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Number of pages: 256
Weight: 181 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 16 mm
"Its portrayal of the tightening vice of alcohol addiction is unparalleled. But its profound exploration of its love, companionship, faith, work and our search for meaning in life made it a tender masterpiece, and one of the year's essential reads." - Justine Jordan, The Guardian, Books of the Year
"MacLaverty doesn't publish novels very often but when he does they are outstanding." - Peter Kemp, Sunday Times, Books of the Year
"A gem of a novel." - Allan Hunter, Herald Scotland, Books of the Year
"Alive with utterly convincing actuality, this affecting, funny and acute book is a triumph of quiet masterliness." - Peter Kemp, Herald Scotland, Books of the Year
"[An] intense, emotionally vivid portrait of an elderly couple's relationship in crisis." - James Marriott, The Times, Books of the Year
"A marriage under strain after 40 years? A mini-break marred by bitter cold weather? An escapist dream that's about to be nixed by reality? Gloomy though it sounds, this warm, intimate portrait of ageing love is one of the wittiest, wisest novels of the year." - Mail on Sunday, Books of the Year
"An artist with a subtle feel for the ordinary, MacLaverty's wry, outstanding novel about the tests that time, age and life impose on love resonates with humanity and emotional intelligence." - Eileen Battersby, Financial Times
"Midwinter Break is a work of extraordinary emotional precision and sympathy, about coming to terms - to an honest reckoning - with love and the loss of love, with memory and pain. Full of scenes that are rendered with exquisite accuracy and care, allowing the most detailed physical descriptions to be placed against the possibility of a rich spiritual life, this is a novel of great ambition by an artist at the height of his powers." - Colm Toibin
"It is extraordinary how his blunt, declarative sentences translate the fiddly minutiae of life... into utterly gripping prose... This unflinching attention to the textural detail of minute-by-minute existence slowly builds into a profound exploration of the biggest themes in both public and private life... A remarkable late flowering... This is a quietly brilliant novel, which makes for essential reading at any stage of life." - Justine Jordan, The Guardian
"MacLaverty draws out his characters with great patience... The comfort and pattern of their relationship particularly shine in their dialogue, which is so good it's film-ready... Throughout, the ride is enlivened by some beautiful writing." - Miranda France, Literary Review
"An exceptionally good book, beautifully and intelligently written, well worth waiting for... He writes with an unfailing and generous sympathy... Everything rings true... MacLaverty is a master of the significant detail." - Allan Massie, The Scotsman
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“Hauntingly, achingly, beautiful.”
Midwinter Break is one of those books that linger in your mind, keeping the cogs and wheels turning, until you understand why it is that it resonates so deeply. If Keats was right and ‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty,’... More
“Midwinter Break: A Joy to Read”
Bernard MacLaverty is one of those authors who you can imagine holding an audience around the fire absolutely spellbound. You can imagine him, in the Great Hall of Brian Boru or some other Irish King, plucking his... More
“The perfect subtle, slow-paced read for the post-Christmas lag”
A tremendous book. Incredibly gentle but all the more powerful for the softness with which it addresses a deteriorating relationship. Husband is an alcoholic. Wife is a woman of faith considering living a life of... More
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