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Michael Magee is the fiction editor of The Tangerine and a graduate of the PhD Creative Writing programme at Queen's University, Belfast. His writing has appeared in Winter Papers, The Stinging Fly, The Lifeboat and in The 32- An Anthology of Working Class Writing. Close to Home is his first novel.
How beautifully Magee has brought his characters to life, and
how intricately he has created their world * Irish Independent
(Kevin Power) *
A complex and compassionate portrait of modern Belfast by an impressive new talent . . . Close to Home is very much a working class novel, but it is many other things too: an Irish novel, a bildungsroman, a novel about the self-congratulatory failures of Northern Ireland's political elite . . .[A] sharp deconstruction of toxic masculinity * Times Literary Supplement *
A convincing, nuanced debut, bleak but powerful . . . Marrying the thematic unsentimentality of the French author Edouard Louis with prose reminiscent of Irvine Welsh . . . Magee is particularly strong at evoking the double bind of working class achievement * Sunday Independent *
Lucid and stirring . . . Magee's persistently evocative and beautifully matter-of-fact descriptions of Belfast's landmarks and people are intertwined with a sensitive awareness of the city's social, political and religious history * Literary Review *
An exceptional debut destined for novel of the year shortlists * Martin Doyle, Irish Times *
Magee skilfully paints the landscape of a city still scarred by the Troubles . . . The book's themes - masculinity, class and history - don't offer easy resolutions. Instead, Magee deftly conveys the anxieties of a generation facing an uncertain future * Irish Times (Mia Levitin) *
A lyrical examination of masculinity, class, and poverty. Magee's prose sings with the tenderness of a writer beyond his years * Electric Literature *
Taut and impressive, unfaltering and deftly executed . . . a genuinely necessary book * Guardian *
Magee is his own man in his restrained approach . . . I took Sean to my heart and the last line of the book left me with a satsifying shiver * The Times (John Self) *
The best debut I've read in years - a tender examination of class, masculinity and place -- Nicole Flattery, author of 'Show Them A Good Time'
A vision of a post-conflict Belfast that didn't deliver what it promised, blighted by poverty, pain and memory. But far from being bleak, I laughed out loud many times. And it is full of love. Each character is so vividly drawn that I felt like I had met them somewhere before; even the most flawed of them is treated with dignity and respect, and an absence of judgement that reminded me of Annie Ernaux. And the writing! Supple, rich and demotic - Kneecap meets Chekhov - no one else is doing this. I had great hopes for this novel and Michael Magee has booted it out of the park. Absolutely glorious. -- Louise Kennedy, author of 'Trespasses'
Beautifully observed and sharp as a knife tip - as real and as raw as the truths you tell on a comedown, in the early hours, in the darkness of some stranger's house. Deeply affecting and badly needed, this is a novel I will be thinking about for a long time -- Lisa McInerney, author of 'The Glorious Heresies'
Exceptional . . . Every detail rings true, every character is fleshy and real and heartbreaking . . . Magee has a remarkable talent * Sunday Times (Laura Hackett) *
Wonderful. A debut overflowing with years of experience and carefully worked craft. By turns hard-edged and soft-hearted, this novel is a gift from Michael Magee to us all -- Jon McGregor, author of 'Reservoir 13'
Michael Magee's first novel is superb. An emotionally true, keenly observed book that goes deep into the troubled territory of home, family and friendship, returning with a message of love -- David Hayden, author of 'Darker With The Lights On'
As beautiful as it is brilliant. Reading Close to Home is like crossing a frontier into a new and thrilling territory -- Glenn Patterson, author of 'The International'
Close To Home announces an exciting new voice - at once open and wary, tender and unyielding - and sharply alive to the pains and discoveries and mysteries of youth -- Colin Barrett, author of 'Young Skins'
Ringing out clear and true as a bell, it gleams with tenderness and perception. There are few narrators so unassuming and unaffected, yet so full of sharp intelligence -- Wendy Erskine, author of 'Dance Move'
Close to Home does for Belfast what Shuggie Bain did for Glasgow. Its portrayal of a particular kind of masculinity - self-destructive and romantic by turns - is unsparing, funny and desperately sad. Keep an eye on Michael Magee; he's the real deal. -- Patrick Gale, author of 'A Place Called Winter'
A sharp and humane novel about a young man, and a city, caught in the painful throes of reimagining themselves. It rings with authenticity, and the wisdom of hard-won observation and experience - a hymn to the ways in which art can be a lifeline and an escape. Michael Magee's debut is an important addition to the burgeoning new canon of Belfast literature -- Lucy Caldwell, author of 'These Days'
Compulsively readable - you will need to know how this ends! -- Emilie Pine, author of 'Notes to Self'
Precise, compulsive, companionable and genuinely moving. Michael Magee writes a world we see far too little of in contemporary literature. We need books like this -- Sean Hewitt, author of 'All Down Darkness Wide'
Sharp, immediate, beautiful writing. A vivid portrait of modern Belfast and of how our circumstances shape our lives. Every character is drawn with nuance and complexity, with great precision and attention to detail. I really loved this book -- Rachel Connolly, author of 'Lazy City'
Artfully crafted, compassionate, precise and unafraid. I loved this book -- Susannah Dickey, author of 'Common Decency'
Close to Home tracks brilliantly written characters across a vividly drawn Belfast * The Business Post *
Though the voice is decidedly Irish, the message of Michael Magee's dead-on debut novel is universal. At its core, Close to Home is about finding a way to transcend the pain, the people and the place you're born into * The New York Times *
Unflinching, direct, disarmingly sensitive . . . Suffusing his narrative with honesty and grace, Magee succeeds in bringing his neighborhood to life for readers and suggests that, amid what seems like a never-ending struggle, there is always room for hope * The Washington Post *