Plot: Thirty-eight-year-old Dublin architect Addie has given up on any notions of settling down. In these late Celtic Tiger days, with a recession biting, she has moved back into the family home to look after her dad. Enter Bruno, a distant American cousin. This is how it begins.
Verdict: In her 400-page story, MacMahon quickly reaches the unadorned essence or soul of all her characters. They may seem lightly sketched but are fully realised and rounded, a tribute to the author’s narrative skill.
Ostensibly, they also may look like smug, prosperous Dublin southsiders, but MacMahon lends her subjects grace and dignity as they deal with problems that are not sorted by money.
Her fluid, no-frills narrative is reminiscent of Brian Moore in his masterful novels told from a woman’s stand-point, specifically The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne and The Doctor’s Wife. To approach the achievement of that great practitioner augurs well for further illuminating and profoundly humane fiction from MacMahon who hopefully is here to stay.