'You wouldn't get involved, Johnny, would you? What about those terrible bombs? You wouldn't do a bad thing, would you?'
In this passionate and heart-wrenching debut novel by Irish writer Mark Mulholland, we meet Johnny Donnelly — an intense young man who is in love with books, with his country, and with the beautiful Cora Flannery. But in his dark and secret other life he shoots British soldiers: he is an IRA sniper.
How can this be? As his two worlds inevitably move towards a dramatic collision, Johnny takes us on a journey through the history, legends, and landscapes of his beloved Ireland. In the end, Johnny has to make sense of his inheritance and his life, and he does so in a riveting, redemptive, and unforgettable climax.
Told in Johnny's unique voice, and peopled by a cast of extraordinary characters, A Mad and Wonderful Thing tells its tale lightly, but pulls a heavy load. It takes us beyond the charming, familiar, and often funny experiences of everyday life to the forces that bind people together, and that set them against each other — and to the profound consequences of the choices that they make.
Read Caroline Baum's Review
Remember that phrase from Jerry McGuire 'You had me at hello'? Well, this book did that. It reeks of Irish charm, without laying on Oirish cliché.
Intense and unashamedly passionate and romantic, this is the story of Johnny Donnelly, a young man blessed with charisma and charm, beloved by all who know him. He falls hard for the beautiful Cora Flannery but keeps a secret from her: in his other life, he is an IRA sniper, shooting British soldiers. When tragedy strikes, Johnny has to choose his loyalties and find a new way to love his country.
Written with playful, light and poetic language that embraces music, a proud history, a beloved and wild landscape and the country's darker torment, the novel shifts mood effortlessly from tragedy to love story as swiftly as the Irish weather. It tackles the great moral paradox of its central character with deftness and sensitivity and changes gear, ramping up the drama to an unexpected thriller-style climax. A sparkling debut that celebrates the vitality, resilience and humanity of Ireland.
About the Author
Mark Mulholland was born and raised in a town on the Irish border, where he left school at sixteen. He now lives with his wife, their four children, and a large library of second-hand books in a farmhouse in France. A Mad and Wonderful Thing is his first novel.
Number Of Pages: 320
Published: 26th February 2014