The arrival of a first novel by an Irish author which has been the subject of a multi-sided, multinational publisher auction doesn’t happen every week, so Paul Lynch’s first book, which arrived on shelves on Thursday, is a pretty big deal.
Lynch, a former film reviewer with the Sunday Tribune amongst others, saw Red Sky In Morning bought by Quercus for Ireland, the UK and Commonwealth territories 14 months or so ago. The US edition, another big deal, will be published by Little, Brown later in the year.
Lynch spent a good chunk of his childhood in Donegal and he returns there in part for the setting of Red Sky In Morning, although it won’t have been overly familiar ground as the book is set in 1832 between Donegal and America.
The plot concerns Coll Coyle, a farmer whose family are on the verge of eviction, and the apparently appropriately monikered Faller, described variously as “a grim creature” and “sinister henchman” of the landlord, who pursues Coyle across the Atlantic after an attempt at bargaining with the landowners ends badly.
Anyway, I’ve yet to get my hands on a copy so that’s about all I know for now, apart from the fact that it’s been well received so far.
Writing in the Metro Herald on the day of publication on Thursday, Sheena Davitt declared:
Lynch’s searingly dark lyricism is redolent of Cormac McCarthy at his most Gothic … This is a fine novel by an arresting new voice in Irish fiction.
The Nomad Reader blog chipped in with:
There’s a quiet haunting to this novel that begs the reader to give the novel your undivided attention.
There’s plenty of other reviews to be read elsewhere on the web but the big hitters in the mainstream media have yet to deliver their verdict, which will go a long way towards deciding whether Red Sky In Morning will be harbinger of doom and gloom or a long and beautiful day for Paul Lynch.
(For what it’s worth, here’s the cover of the Little, Brown edition which arrives in the US in October.)