The House of Slamming Doors
‘My name is Justin Alexander Torquhil Edward Peregrine Montague, but my father calls me ‘you little bollocks’, or when he is in a good mood, ‘old cock’.’
It’s 1963 in a country house in west Wicklow during the heady summer of JFK’s visit to Ireland. Turbulence is in the air as Justin is locked in combat with his angry and inebriate father. A dark and poignant comedy unfolds and progresses to winter as Kennedy is assassinated and Justin ends his oedipal struggle and comes of age.
Replete with the perennial tensions between native and settler, servant and master, Camelot and Leinster House, this poignant tale concerns identity and first love, and the pain of a knowing child living amongst aliens. Told with the panache of Roddy Doyle crossed with J.D. Salinger, it conveys the spirit of a bygone age and the very present emotions of a fast-growing boy. It is a masterful debut novel.
“A subtler kind of Irish eccentricity pervades The House of Slamming Doors. Set at the time of President Kennedy’s visit to Ireland in 1963, Mark Macauley’s enjoyable tale of a dysfunctional clan of Anglo-Irish aristocrats centers on 13-year-old Justin Montague, heir to a rural estate, who enrages his bullying father by befriending a servant’s daughter. But there is equal pleasure in its depiction of the time-warped world of the big house, stuck uneasily between the ears of the wind-up gramophone and the Dansette record-player.” – The Financial Times
“The funniest, most beguiling, cruelly dysfunctional family ever.” – John Boorman
“Packed with hilarious incident and pathos…an audacious one-off.” – The Guardian
“This Ireland is lyrical and vibrant and honest.” – Carol Birch, The Times Literary Supplement
MARK MACAULEY was born in 1956 and raised on the edge of the Wicklow Mountains. He lives between London and Africa and makes documentaries and writes screenplays. This is his first novel.