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Montpelier Parade

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LoveReading Says

LoveReading Says

Shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards 2017, First Novel Award

Longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2017.

A deeply affecting debut about limitations and longing, lust and devotion between a working class boy and an enigmatic older woman.

Dubliner Sonny first meets Vera while he’s helping his labourer dad work at her well-to-do Montpelier Parade house. He’s a directionless working class boy who thieves, fights and doesn’t fit in. His dad is a gambler and his mum works hard to keep their family afloat. Vera is beautiful, richer, older and English, and has no family, as far as Sonny is aware. A second chance encounter further arouses his fascination, and then she turns up at the butcher’s he works in and offers him odd job work. When Vera collapses, Sonny is the only one there to come to her rescue, while she, in turn, opens his eyes and heart to a hitherto hidden world of literature and art. Until meeting Vera, he “never had a book”, since “books were not meant for boys who cut meat”. Their relationship is evoked with sharp intensity, and a cutting awareness that this is transitory for them both. “I think years from now you’ll understand this and hate me for it”, Vera remarks as they lie in bed.

The uncommon use of a second person narrative has a mesmerising and intensifying effect. Throughout we listen in on Sonny addressing himself; lonely, drifting, struggling, with an especially moving epiphany coming when he feels “sudden emotion” for his mother and plans to buy her “something nice”. This is a tender, tense coming-of-age story, with a masterfully executed denouement. ~ Joanne Owen

The Costa Judges say: ‘A beautifully-written story about the pain and wonder of love found in unexpected places.’

Joanne Owen

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