Read some of the fabulous comments that the press has made regarding Solace, the debut novel from Belinda McKeon.
‘A fine example of the modern Irish novel… An irrepressible power runs through the finely crafted text… The writing, transitions and branching narratives are honed to a fine point… This is a beautifully small story that loses none of its intimacy by encompassing the breadth of a country and acknowledging an entire generationAccomplished… Thoughtful and intelligent… A work steeped in verisimilitude, whose integrity is palpable and its concerns clear-cut. The juxtaposition of urban and rural Ireland is very effective… A compelling story of how the adult family unit renegotiates itself. There is no denying McKeon’s talent’ Irish Independent
‘[A] beautiful first novel… A remarkable new voice. Belinda McKeon has already established herself as a playwright and arts journalist in both Ireland and America, and now her anticipated first novel arrives complete with endorsements from some of the great figures of Irish letters. Solace does not disappoint, and in it we feel a young writer carefully negotiating her relationship to her native Ireland and to its literary traditions… She writes with a precision that is moving without being sentimental. She is superb on the inarticulate coming-to-terms between a father and his son. Patient to a fault, this author demands patience from her reader, but it is the kind of patience that is worth cultivatingIntensely controlled, [a] fine first novel. Compelling… A profound and exacting conjuration with the psycho-social shifts taking place in contemporary Ireland… The poetic sinuousness of McKeon’s style deftly insinuates the reader into the emotional worlds of her characters which are outlined with unflinching clarity and a winning compassion. Solace, in sum, is an assured and poised debut, at once a moving and gracefully etched story of human loss and interconnection set in contemporary Ireland and a deeply affecting meditation on being in the worldAn excellent musing on families and relationships… Ms McKeon’s real strength lies in portraying the slow burn of kinship… She hooks the reader with words unsaid; stolen glances; simmering anger – which hold the heaviness of a lifetime of buried emotion, but also of unconditional love… Solace is a warm and wise debut from a new literary talentMcKeon keeps all the plates spinning, plotting in perfectly timed cliffhangers… and draws you into the lives of the Caseys and the Lynches with grace. Her prose style is simple to the point of plain yet it illuminates her characters with the intensity of a searchlight… [But] it is not the plot that interests her, or us, but the truth of the characters... Solace is impossible to put down. A compelling story… There is no denying McKeon’s talentIt’s difficult to imagine a novel being more permeated by the preoccupations of Irish culture and more conscious of its location within an Irish literary tradition than Belinda McKeon’s debut. Solace is about a lot of things - love, grief, parenthood, friendship, the struggles for self-definition and intellectual autonomy - but at its core is a theme that has animated many of this country’s most enduring fictions: the endlessly problematic relationship between older and younger generations… Eloquent precision is everywhere in the novel… McKeon has obviously learned a great deal from the likes of McGahern and Colm Tóibín, but she has taken the lessons of these masters and constructed something that, though it may not be entirely new, is very much her ownI’m ordering Solace, the debut novel by Belinda McKeon. It missed the Man Booker longlist but my sources tell me it’s brilliant.’ AbeBooks