Country of the Grand

Gerard Donovan

A stunning and elegiac collection of interrelated stories from the acclaimed author of Julius Winsome and Schopenhauer’s Telescope.

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A young man driving across Ireland with his wife asks her how long she would wait before being with another man if he died. A man is trapped, hidden, in a small changing room by the sea on Galway Bay, as he listens to his friends discuss his wife’s infidelity. An anguished young boy and his widowed mother struggle to reconstruct their lost father and husband in their own respective ways. The stories in Country of the Grand magnify a New Ireland as it copes with the rewards and pressures of its fresh success: immigration, mid-life crisis, adultery and divorce, a lost sense of place and history, and of course, what to do with all that prosperity.

Critic Reviews

'Outstanding ... The writing crackles with truthfulness, a piercing acuity ... This is not the first fiction about Ireland's economic boom but it may well be the first to see it for what it truly was, in all its shimmering newness and garish strangeness - its ugliness somehow related to its beauty. That Gerard Donovan manages to unearth such resonant grace from that paradox is remarkable. This is an important and haunting collection.'

Joseph O’Connor, Guardian
Critic Reviews

'Remarkable ... There are no forced epiphanies in these beautifully etched and skilfully crafted stories. Instead, Donovan makes us aware of the intricate but frequently repressed tracery of emotions that underwrites everyday life. His eloquent and masterly stories are at once intense reflections on the human condition and the deficits of contemporary Ireland, haunted by its refusal of the past and its obtuse denial of the psychic in favour of the material.'

Anne Fogarty, Irish Times
Critic Reviews

'An exploration of human frailty draws together short stories from Irish novelist Gerard Donovan in Country of the Grand. Whether it's the depiction of Brenda and Peter surfing the waves of silence during a marital row, lost Harry Diezt suffering spurned love or John realising his wife is a kleptomaniac, Donovan's prose reveals the more sombre depths of psychological survival.'

Critic Reviews

'The sharpness of Donovan's melancholic eye makes him one of the most interesting writers of his generation.'

Brian Lynch, Irish Independent
Critic Reviews

'Donovan, whose melancholy musings on grief were so beautifully woven into the novel, Julius Winsome, now offers us 13 tales chronicling loss in the midst of a country's economic emergence. Here are vignettes of the "new Ireland", burnished with the sheen of prosperity and all the more disorienting for it ... it is the nuanced observation of apparently inconsequential moments that makes Donovan's writing so affecting.'

Angel Gurria-Quintana, Financial Times

Gerard Donovan is the author of the novels Schopenhauer’s Telescope, which won the 2004 Kerry Group Irish Fiction Award and was longlisted for the 2003 Booker Prize, Doctor Salt and Julius Winsome, described in the Irish Times as ‘a timeless fable of loss, isolation and violence’. In 2008 he published the acclaimed story collection, Country of the Grand.

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