Tag Archives: Patrick Flanery

Debuts and Prize Lists

The International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award announced their shortlist this week. Dublin City Public Libraries manage this award and public libraries from all around the world nominate the books. “Titles are nominated on the basis of ‘high literary merit’ as determined by the nominating library.” This year’s list has a great collection of international writers to explore.

One of my favorite debuts that I read (and reviewed) last year was on the list, Absolution, by Patrick Flanery.

Also on the list is The Spinning Heart, by Donal Ryan, which is about life in rural Ireland after the recent financial collapse. The book is told from a collection of voices and looks like a moving portrait of life in Ireland. He also made it on the Booker longlist.

The Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction also announced their shortlist and three of the books are debuts. I’ve mentioned two before: A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing, by Eimear McBride and Burial Rites, by Hannah Kent.

The third debut is The Undertaking, which was written by another Irish author, Audrey Magee. This book just published in February 2014 and is about a German solider who during WWII agrees to a marry a woman he has never met, so that he can get a “honeymoon” leave from the warfront. Their marriage and bond end up being more than either expected. It sounds like an intriguing look at love and war.

I will also note, although it is not a debut novel, that Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah is also on this shortlist. I recently read that book and was blown away by the richness of her characters and her ability to write about race and ethnic identity in such a clear and moving way. It’s one of the best books I’ve read this year.








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Stand out debuts from 2012 – 2013

As I reflect on the year of reading, I want to call attention to three debut novels that are now all available in paperback….

Best award-winning debut


I’m not one to seek out books about snow or Alaska, but I loved Eowyn Ivey’s The Snow Child. Its magical realism and poetic prose made for a splendidly unique book.

Best critically-acclaimed debut


Patrick Flanery’s Absolution stands out to me for his unique storytelling, moving story and sharp prose. I much enjoyed this book, but haven’t encountered many others who have read it. But Flanery fans don’t have to wait long for his second book—Fallen Land just came out. I can’t wait to dive in.

Best underrated debut


Thomas Van Essen’s The Center of the World drew me in to all four of its interlocking stories. The prose is crisp, the themes are engaging and I loved that the book revolved around a fictional painting. This is a great book that deserves to be more widely read.

Later this week I will be offering two readers of Proto Libro a chance to receive a copy of The Center of the World…stay tuned for details…..


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