Close to Home

Michael Magee


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Penguin Books
4 April 2024
ISBN: 9780241996409
288 pages

From the publisher

Luminous and devastating, a portrait of young manhood and working class life from Observer Best New Novelist Michael Magee

Sean is back. Back in Belfast and back into old habits. Back on the mad all-nighters, the borrowed tenners and missing rent, the casual jobs that always fall through. Back in these scarred streets, where the promised prosperity of peacetime has never arrived. Back among his brothers, his ma, and all the things they never talk about. Until one night Sean finds himself at a party – dog-tired, surrounded by jeering strangers, his back against the wall – and he makes a big mistake.

Michael Magee's Close to Home, amazingly a first novel, is about what it's like to be young and working class right now in Northern Ireland, and is a tremendous read, tensed and immersive, punching the air between hope and despair, deeply decent, unputdownable - Guardian '2023 Summer Reads' - Ali Smith

'Staggeringly humane, unfaltering, taut and tender... [It] feels like that rarest of things: a genuinely necessary book' Guardian

Exceptional . . . Every detail rings true, every character is fleshy and real and heartbreaking . . . Magee has a remarkable talent -Sunday Times (Laura Hackett)

Taut and impressive, unfaltering and deftly executed . . . [It] feels like that rarest of things: a genuinely necessary book -Guardian - Keiran Goddard

An exceptional debut destined for novel of the year shortlists -Irish Times (Martin Doyle)