The Barracks

John McGahern

‘One of the greatest writers of our era.’ Hilary Mantel, New Statesman

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‘Marvellous.’ Susan Hill, The Times

Elizabeth Reegan, after years of freedom – and loneliness – marries into the enclosed Irish village of her upbringing. The children are not her own; her husband is straining to break free from the servile security of the police force; and her own life, threatened by illness, seems to be losing the last vestiges of its purpose. Moving between tragedy and savage comedy, desperation and joy, John McGahern’s first novel is one of haunting power.

‘The details are evoked with a scrupulous yet enhancing accuracy that reminds one of the young Joyce. He is astonishingly successful in penetrating the mind of a mature woman confronted with pain and death. Mr McGahern is the real thing.’ Spectator


Born in 1934, John McGahern was the eldest of seven children, raised on a farm in the West of Ireland. The son of a Garda sergeant who had served as an IRA volunteer in the Irish War of Independence, he was devastated by his mother’s death when he was nine. An outstanding student, McGahern studied at University College Dublin and…

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