Before The House Burns
By: Mary O’Donoghue
“Electric, real, utterly modern: this is a voice to welcome and to watch” – Anne Enright.
Set on Ireland’s Atlantic coast, Before the House Burns is a tender, implosive first novel by an award-winning short story writer and poet. It concerns the lives of its three young narrators, children of a bereaved father and witnesses to a shared grief.
This nuanced and heart-breaking account of one family’s struggle – for work, shelter and happiness – enters the imagination through this braided, pitch-perfect tale of a family whose lives fracture around two tragic events. It is a story of what happens when self-sustenance turns to isolation, a story about the hard scrabble to find a home.
Despite their sufferings, this is not yet another tale of an unhappy Irish childhood. What makes this novel unique is not only the calibre of the writing, but also its depiction of the love that binds the family together as they suffer blow after blow to their lives.