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Marjorie Celona

Marjorie Celona’s debut, Y, is a heartbreaking and compassionate story of sacrifice and love, which introduces readers to unforgettable characters and a brilliant new literary voice.

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Why would a mother give up her daughter?
Can abandonment ever be an act of love?

And could you ever forgive her?

‘My life begins at the Y…’ Abandoned as a newborn at the doors of the local YMCA and then bounced between foster homes, Shannon eventually finds stability in the home of Miranda, a single mother with a daughter of her own. But as Shannon grows, so do her questions. Will she ever belong? Who is her true family? And why would her parents abandon Shannon on the day she was born?

The answers lie in the heartrending tale of her mother, a headstrong young woman trapped in a tragic series of events that will destroy her family and test the limits of her compassion and sacrifice.

Critic Reviews

A beautiful, moving book that explores what it takes to belong.

Evie Wyld, Guardian
Critic Reviews

A sharp and compassionate exploration of the split nature of decisions.

Sunday Times
Critic Reviews

Compassionate and keenly observed ... Celona's well-judged conclusion does indeed fill the heart to bursting.

Daily Mail
Critic Reviews

An evocative look into what makes a family, and what makes a home, and how they are undeniably helixed together.

Colum McCann
Critic Reviews

A heartfelt first novel ... Celona is compassionate toward even her most wayward characters.

New York Times
Critic Reviews

While Shannon is a heartbreaking character, Y is a warming story sprinkled with humour, forming the perfect canvas to interrogate big questions.


Marjorie Celona is the author of Y, which was chosen for the Waterstones 11 debut list, shortlisted for the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize, and longlisted for the Giller Prize. She was also shortlisted for the Sunday Times Short Story Award for ‘Othello’. Marjorie received her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was an Iowa Arts fellow and recipient…

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