Ithaca, the ferociously funny and unbelievably poignant debut novel from Alan McMonagle, combines a fiercely emotional story with crackling prose. This was the summer after all the money disappeared. One minute it was here. The next it had vanished. All of it. Without trace ...Now that all the money had vanished everyone had their eyes and ears ready for all manner of doom. Summer 2009, and eleven-year-old Jason Lowry is preoccupied with thoughts of the Da he has never known. In the meantime, his vodka-swilling, swings-from-the-hip Ma is busy entertaining her latest boyfriend and indulging her fondness for joyriding. Jason escapes to the Swamp: a mysteriously rising pool of fetid water on the outskirts of the town. There, he meets the girl, a being as lost as himself, and with even less regard for reality. Together, they conjure exotic adventures - from ancient Egypt to the search for Ithaca, home of Odysseus. But what begin as innocent flights of fancy soon become forays into hazardous territory; the girl is a dangerous (and very committed) partner in crime.
Jason Lowry has a lot on his mind for an eleven year old. He thinks a lot about his carefree mother who likes to joyride and parade around with her latest boyfriend. But when he seeks some peace and quiet in the only place he knows - the swamp - he finds a strange girl sitting on his rock, who quickly becomes a close friend and risky partner in crime. Ithaca is a fiercely written, darkly comic debut. McMonagle's book moves along at a frantic pace with sharp dialogue, wit and intelligence, as we are drawn into Jason's world and his journey to find his rightful place in it. With a lot of heart and a very distinct style, Ithaca is an easy book to pick up and a hard one to put down.
Recommended by Shane O’Reilly, Dubray Bray