Shortlisted for the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award.
When Fintan Buckley develops an interest in old autochrome photographs, strange things start to happen. To all appearances, Fintan holds down a successful job and enjoys life with his conventional middle-class family in Dublin, yet inwardly he starts to experience states of altered consciousness, with unsettling hallucinations and sudden insights. Meanwhile, Fintan's sister Marina has been unearthing family stories from the past and the two of them, in different ways, find themselves renegotiating their history and the decisions that have brought them to this place, this present.
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Number of pages: 240
Weight: 189 g
Dimensions: 198 x 126 x 16 mm
'With her latest offering, Madden adds a consummately crafted novel to an already formidable body of work ... the novel takes its title from the 'Burnt Norton' section of TS Eliot's Four Quartets ... by the end of the book the reader realises that Madden - cleverly, playfully, with sly wit and real skill - has translated this intellectual and poetic expression of time into a deeply moving portrait of domestic and family life. -- Adam O'Riordan Sunday Telegraph This is an exalting story that celebrates the survival of fragile folk, and revels in the mysteries of the commonplace. An outstanding book. -- Mary Shine Thompson Irish Independent Madden's precise, cool narrative is as condensed and rich as a stock cube, and there's always a confidence that she knows exactly what she wants to convey ... the book is beautifully written and gently invites us to consider the shifting patterns of time.' -- Andrea Mullaney The Scotsman Confiding and measured, and allows fantasy to challenge memory and yet remain the truth. -- Mary Leland Irish Examiner Slowly and gently Madden takes us by the hand and leads us elsewhere as Fintan reveals he's seeing things and past family stories collide with this new sensation. -- Lesley McDowell The Herald Enthralling ... Elegantly written, deeply reflective and beautifully shaped, this rich and luminous novel is more daring than it seems. It is an understated little masterpiece. -- Eilis Ni Dhuibhne Irish Times 'The novel begins as a low-key domestic drama before developing into a compelling meditation on memory, transience and loss ... I found it exquisitely done. -- David Evans Financial Times This is a subtle, deeply thoughtful novel, its tone so clear that the writing plays over character and action like water over stones ... This beguiling novel is also a clear-eyed, even forensic study of a family crammed with secrets to the point of sickness, reflecting a wider society that bolts down consumer goods in order to purge itself of the past. -- Helen Dunmore Guardian Since her 1986 debut,Hidden Symptoms, she has been investigating the relation between past and present with understated thoroughness ... Madden's clear, precise prose allows us to share Fintan's heightened, near-supernatural awareness, as does her trick of alternately drawing back to survey decades and homing in on a single moment. -- Hannah Rosefield Observer Where does it all begin, indeed, life in all its complexity? Nothing distinguishes the Buckleys but Madden's decision to invent them, to reveal their lives in all their ordinariness, to the reader. It is this democratic gesture and its philosophical implications that lift Madden's book from just very good to great. -- Sara Keating Sunday Business Post Gentle, ruminative novel ... suffuses the mundanity of family life with something timeless. -- Adam Lively Sunday Times 'In exploring the past, Madden reminds us of the personal dramas that occurred long before worries of crashing economies. The reader is left with a sense of longevity rather than fatalism, a reminder that, details aside, the world goes on. Press Association Madden achieves that old adage applied to Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men: that it takes two hours to read and twenty years to forget. -- Philip Cummins Irish Post Her compassion for her characters is so infectiously deep-seated and her prose so pellucid it's hard to resist this tale or ordainry people caught up in the vicissitudes of history. -- Daragh Reddin Metro