It is testament to his skill as an author that Darragh Martin manages to perfectly encapsulate the last forty years of Irish history, in all its glory and absurdity, within the pages of this stunning book. In his funny and occasionally devastating family saga, Martin has created a cast of endearing, memorable characters, while also covering an impressive array of topics, from politics and religion to abortion, homosexuality and environmental destruction. This timely, important novel is a must-read.
- Recommended by Caoilfhionn Fay, Dubray Head Office
A big-hearted, funny, sad, dazzlingly ambitious novel about the messiness of love, family and belief - and how nothing ever turns out quite how we plan
In 1979 Bridget Doyle has one goal left in life: for her family to produce the very first Irish pope. Fired up by John Paul II's appearance in Phoenix Park, she sprinkles Papal-blessed holy water on the marital bed of her son and daughter-in-law, and leaves them to get on with things. But nine months later her daughter-in-law dies in childbirth and Granny Doyle is left bringing up four grandchildren: five-year-old Peg, and baby triplets Damien, Rosie and John Paul.
Thirty years later, it seems unlikely any of Granny Doyle's grandchildren are going to fulfil her hopes. Damien is trying to work up the courage to tell her that he's gay. Rosie is a dreamy blue-haired rebel who wants to save the planet and has little time for popes. And irrepressible John Paul is a chancer and a charmer and the undisputed apple of his Granny's eye - but he's not exactly what you'd call Pontiff material.
None of the triplets have much contact with their big sister Peg, who lives over 3,000 miles away in New York City, and has been a forbidden topic of conversation ever since she ran away from home as a teenager. But that's about to change.