NEWS

Philipp Meyer and Ron Rash on The Black Snow

FACEBOOKblurbsAs preparations for Little Brown’s release of THE BLACK SNOW in the US & Canada next May are gathering pace, I am so pleased to share some early blurbs for the book that have come from two truly great American writers.
Philipp Meyer, whose epic novel The Son was runner-up for last year’s Pulitzer Prize, has just said this about THE BLACK SNOW: “A brilliant, hypnotic book. You will lose yourself in the sounds and rhythms — Lynch makes the page sing like the old masters.”
Meanwhile, Ron Rash, author of Serena and The Cove, sent us this: “Lynch establishes himself as one of his generation’s very finest novelists… The Black Snow is a dark, mesmerizing study in obsession, despair, and secrets too long held”.
It’s been a great and busy year with many festivals at home and abroad, and I want to thank everybody who made 2014 such a memorable year, bought my books and came to my events, and to the many people who make such events happen.

By |December 23rd, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off

US artwork for The Black Snow

THE BLACK SNOW US COVER

The Black Snow by Paul Lynch, (Little, Brown May 2013)

Here is the artwork for the North American May 13 release of The Black Snow.

From the Little, Brown website:

The startling new novel from a brilliant young Irish novelist on the rise, who “has a sensational gift for a sentence” (Colum McCann).

In Donegal in the spring of 1945, a farmhand runs into a burning barn and does not come out alive. The farm’s owner, Barnabas Kane, can only look on as his friend dies and all 43 of his cattle are destroyed in the blaze.

Following the disaster, the bull-headed and proudly self-sufficient Barnabas is forced to reach out to the community for assistance. But resentment simmers over the farmhand’s death, and Barnabas and his family begin to believe their efforts at recovery are being sabotaged.

Barnabas is determined to hold firm. Yet his teenage son struggles under the weight of a terrible secret, and his wife is suffocated by the uncertainty surrounding their future. As Barnabas fights ever harder for what is rightfully his, his loved ones are drawn ever closer to a fate that should never have been theirs.

In The Black Snow, Paul Lynch takes the pastoral novel and–with the calmest of hands—tears it apart. With beautiful, haunting prose, Lynch illuminates what it means to live through crisis, and puts to the test our deepest certainties about humankind.

By |November 23rd, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off

Ron Rash blurb for The Black Snow

Ron-Rash-Nov-2013-1
VERY thrilled that Ron Rash has blurbed The Black Snow for its US publication next May. We are big fans of Ron in this house. Here it is:
“Lynch establishes himself as one of his generation’s very finest novelists. The Black Snow is a dark, mesmerizing study in obsession, despair, and secrets too long held.”

By |November 1st, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off

Red Sky in Morning nominated for Le Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger.

Though it is slightly old news (I only found out last week), Red Sky in Morning has been nominated for France’s best foreign book prize — le Prix du meilleur livre étranger. The prix has been previously won by Salmon Rushdie, Orhan Pamuk, Peter Carey and Colm Toibin, to name but a few.

The books are:
Joseph BOYDEN Dans le grand cercle du monde
Paul LYNCH Un ciel rouge, le matin
Alexander MAKSIK La mesure de la dérive
Alberto GARLINI Les Noirs et les rouges
Amy Grace LOYD Le bruit des autres
Drago JANCAR Cette nuit, je l’ai vueLYNCH Paul Un ciel rouge, le matin

By |July 28th, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off

How I wrote The Black Snow

The Black Snow

The Black Snow came to me first in dream, a vision of rural apocalypse. I saw a burning byre. Cattle in flames running into the night. I woke and lay in the grasp of it. Characters began to appear out of their own dark. I felt the tug of a storyline. From dream I had been given the beginning of a novel. I reached for my phone, typed it all in, and went back to sleep. It was 5am.

The next morning, I began to think about what happened during the night. I teased out trajectories, the shape and texture of character. But then doubt crept in. This would have to be a novel set in Ireland in the 1940s. Worse, it was a story set on an Irish farm. I could never do that – I was not going to be another Irish writer who writes a damn farm novel. I allowed myself to forget about it.

Months later, in April 2011, I finished writing Red Sky in Morning. It was the start of a journey to find an agent and eventually a publisher. It would take another two years before that novel would be published. But I never stopped writing. I had an idea for a second book and began immediately. The idea began to drift, shape-shifted into something else. That then expanded, became again something different. I found myself grappling with an enormous sprawl of a novel that I had not yet the technical ability to master. Worse, I had written 40,000 words but couldn’t hear the book hum. The novel had no central nervous system. I couldn’t even find a beginning. I had a crisis on my hands.

Some writers tell you, finish everything you write. I say, know when to stop. It was a major decision to abandon that novel, but deep down I knew I was right. A day of despair followed. For eight months I had a second novel to write and now I had none. My agent was preparing to submit Red Sky in Morning to publishers. I needed to have a second project in hand. I decided to sleep on the problem, rise early and meditate. I knew that a solution would come.

I will never forget the moment it did. What arrived was that vision of the burning byre. But this time it was different – deeper, more fully realized. I saw before me Part One of a book – a moment of rolling action that picks up the reader and puts them down again 30 pages later, staggering and breathless. I thought of McEwan’s hot-air balloon. DeLillo’s ball game. I could hear the hum. Could feel the central nervous system. I could see then the entirely of a novel. And I knew I still did not want to write it.

This became one of the major lessons of my career. You must write the books that you are given – not the ones you want to write. You must write the books that cause within you the deepest anxiety because there lies your best material. I wrote every sentence of The Black Snow in a kind of willing dread. Every day for 14 months, I sat down to write a novel I did not want to write, and so it was written.

I began to realize that, despite my anxiety, my first instinct was right. I did not want to write an Irish farm novel – and so I didn’t. I found myself writing against the Irish farm novel. I wrote an allegory for a post-boom Ireland, an act of creative destruction that tears the Irish pastoral apart. By the end of the book, nothing of that world remains. The reader wakes from the dream to discover the cold reality of morning.
This article was originally written for foyles.co.uk

By |May 14th, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off

Round-up of reviews in France

LYNCH Paul Un ciel rouge, le matinMy editor at Albin Michel has sent this along — a round-up in translation of what has been said about Red Sky in Morning in the French national press…

“The most astonishing first novel of the year. At the point of writing, already among the greatest talents of Irish literature”

— Julien Bisson, Lire (France)

“The art of the storytelling is so impressive, the writing so poetic, painful and beautiful at the same time, that it makes for a unique reading experience”

— Bruno Corty , Le Figaro (France)

“The language is rich, sophisticated, lyrical and violent at the same time… a first novel worthy of Cormac McCarthy, Saul Bellow, John Banville, Colum McCann, Vladimir Nabokov, or authors of such legacy.”

— Emmanuel Romer, La Croix (France)

“The new guard of Irish letters never ceases to fascinate with its visionary power. To these names must immediately be added Paul Lynch, because his first novel is simply masterful

— André Clavel, Le Temps (Switzerland)

Nothing is missing in this transcontinental western, written by a master of landscape and light”

— Véronique Rossignol, Livres Hebdo (France)

“This first novel by an extraordinary writer has received a tremendous reception in the Anglo-Saxon world. The bet is that he will be as successful in France, where such talent will not fail to burst into the open”

— Sophie Royere , Lemagazine.info (France)

“A dark poetry infuses this first novel of sound and fury. A young writer promised to a brilliant future”
— Le Journal du Dimance

“In a few words: the craftsmanship of a great stylist”
— La Quinzaine Littéraire

“The beauty of his writing imbued with lyricism is dazzling”
— Elle

“Influenced and nourished by a past more mythical than historical, “Red Sky in Morning” is as contemporary a novel as it can be. Its rhythms and its visions, and its suspense, come from our age’s visual and cinematographic culture. With its mixed influences, its shattered geography which opens on the beginnings of America and modernity, this novel blends irreconcilable temporalities”
— Le Monde de Livres

“There is in Paul Lynch’s writing a kind of lyrical and poetic fever which transcends everything, including the most harrowing scenes. Red Sky in Morning takes us on such a journey that when we come to the end, we feel like we have dreamed it all”
— Les Echoes

“An amazing first novel, strikingly beautiful, with a nervous pace that takes the reader on an unforgettable journey”
— PAGE

“Clear and intense as a tragedy, the novel reveals in Paul Lynch an incredibly talented Irish writer”
— Trois Couleurs

By |May 3rd, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off

The Black Snow reviews

Reviews for The Black Snow are starting to appear. The latest is from Theo Dorgan at The Sunday Times who calls the book “masterful” and “a considerable achievement”.

Says Dorgan, “Lynch is masterful. Layer by layer he teases out character and context, alternating action and reflection to get to the essences of Barnabas, Eskra and Billy, the growing horror of their plight, their interlinked tragic destinies…. This is a considerable achievement in itself, and if the story were told plainly and simply we would have a story that John McGahern, say, or Frank O’Connor in one of his colder moments could have written.

“The triumph of this book is the uncanny uses to which Lynch puts language. Prose is more often concerned to reassure us that the world is manageable and intelligible than it is to face up to the cold truth that life beyond our immediate hearth is largely mysterious and beyond our powers of comprehension. Prose writers who can ground us in what we know while opening our minds to the vast unknown are few. In our time the name that springs most readily to mind is Cormac McCarthy… we can add Paul Lynch to a short list. In paragraphs that have the icy precision of prose poems, he opens the world out into halls of space and time that will send shivers through your blood…. I read this book sentence by sentence, sounding the words to myself, savouring the pleasure of the writing. It is the writing itself, not the bare circumstances of the story, that nerves us to face the cold place to which Lynch, with uncanny mastery, conducts us.”

Meanwhile, The Sunday Business Post says, “The Black Snow underlines the extent of Lynch’s dazzling prose gifts”, and calls the book “a terrific contemporary example of the art form”.

“Lynch is a born storyteller, wonderfully conveying textures, atmospheres and smells… He very effectively captures the ravages of a more pastoral scene of devastation, and in the process, manages to reinvent the pastoral novel in a daring and nuanced way. Lynch already shows all the signs of being one of the most exciting new talents in Irish literature.”

In a short review, London’s Metro, said The Black Snow is “hewed from granite-like, starkly poetic prose” and calls the book “a tough and sinewy tragedy”.

In the Guardian, Hugo Hamilton calls the book “raw, savage… tender”. “Lynch has an impressive gift for storytelling. As the separate strings of the novel are tightened and pulled together into an assured ending, this becomes a version of Donegal that has not been written before. The Irish vernacular is here, in all its intonation, but it almost sounds like a distant, musical echo of itself, as though the language in which the story is being told has travelled across the plains of America, through many other time zones, before taking root again in the native soil.”

In The Irish Times, Eilis NoDhuibhne calls the book, “powerful, rich and ornate”, and says Barnabas is “a classic tragic hero”. “The striking talent of its author is his ability to reinvent the English language and use words as no one has before… There is a magic to this kind of writing”.

This article will be updated as reviews come in.

By |March 24th, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off

Superb reaction to Red Sky in Morning in France

Paul Lynch, Irish Cultural CentreThe French translation of Red Sky in Morning — «Un ciel rouge, le matin» — was published last week by Albin Michel and launched at the Centre Culturel Irlandais. My translator Marina Boraso has done an incredible job — she told me it was the most difficult book she has ever had to translate — but the reviews so far in the French national press are incredible.

This is what they have to say, in English translation, with more reviews in the days to come…

“Entering the world of Paul Lynch requires some concentration, but the storytelling is so big, the writing so poetic, beautiful and painful at the same time, it is worth the effort” — Bruno Corty , Le Figaro

“The language is rich, sophisticated, lyrical with a pervasive and extreme violence which rests in the details… a first novel worthy of Cormac McCarthy, Saul Bellow, John Banville, Colum McCann, Vladimir Nabokov, or authors of such legacy.” — Emmanuel Romer, La Croix

“The most astonishing first novel of the year. At the point of writing, already among the greatest talents of Irish literature” — Julien Bisson, Lire

“The new guard of Irish letters never ceases to fascinate with its visionary power. To these names must immediately be added Paul Lynch, because his first novel is simply masterful — André Clavel, Le Temps

Nothing is missing in this transcontinental western, filmed by an ace of light” — Véronique Rossignol, Livres Hebdo

“This first novel by an extraordinary writer has received a tremendous reception in the Anglo-Saxon world. The bet is that he will be as successful in France, where such talent will not fail to burst into the open” — Sophie Royere , Lemagazine.info

By |March 17th, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off

Dublin launch for THE BLACK SNOW

Everybody is welcome…

Paul Lynch THE BLACK SNOW Launch Email Invitation

By |February 14th, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off

New flip-book extract for THE BLACK SNOW

The Black Snow by Paul Lynch thumbQuercus have created a wonderful flip-book extract of THE BLACK SNOW, due out on 6 March. You can have a read of Part I of the book ahead of publication by clicking on this link.

The following is from the book’s dust jacket:

In the spring of 1945, farm-worker Matthew Peoples runs into a burning byre and does not come out alive. The farm’s owner, Barnabas Kane, can only look on as his friend dies and all 43 of his cattle are destroyed in the blaze.

Following the disaster, the bull-headed and proudly self-sufficient Barnabas is forced to reach out to the farming community for assistance. But resentment simmers over Matthew Peoples’ death, and Barnabas and his family begin to believe their efforts at recovery are being sabotaged.

Barnabas is determined to hold firm. Yet his son Billy struggles under the weight of a terrible secret, and his wife Eskra is suffocated by the uncertainty surrounding their future. And as Barnabas fights ever harder for what is rightfully his, his loved ones are drawn ever closer to a fate that should never have been theirs.

In The Black Snow, Paul Lynch takes the pastoral novel and – with the calmest of hands – tears it apart. With beautiful, haunting prose, Lynch illuminates what it means to be alive during crisis, and puts to the test our deepest certainties about humankind.

By |February 3rd, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off