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Solace: A Novel Hardcover – May 17, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner (May 17, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451610548
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451610543
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,353,516 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Solace is an elegant, consuming and richly inspired novel. Like all good stories, it's a love story. It just so happens that it's also lovingly told. A superb debut. This one will last."—Colum McCann, National Book Award-winning author of Let the Great World Spin

Solace is a novel of quiet power, filled with moments of carefully-told truth. Belinda McKeon demonstrates a real wisdom in this book which will appeal to readers both young and old, and a command of style and structure which will make this a much-loved and a treasured book by readers everywhere.”—Colm Toíbín, author of Brooklyn and The Empty Family

“A story told with clear-eyed compassion and quiet intelligence about what it is to grow up and grow away, about the difference between 'here' and 'home'. Solace lives up to its title: this is a lovely debut.”—Anne Enright, Man Booker Prize-winning author of The Gathering

“Intensely controlled, this fine first novel brought to my mind the performance of a talented young dancer whose steps and movements are flawless.”--Ursula Le Guin, The Guardian

About the Author

Belinda McKeon, an award-winning playwright and journalist, was born in Ireland in 1979 and grew up on her parents' farm. She studied literature at Trinity College, Dublin, and worked as an arts writer for The Irish Times. McKeon has an MFA in creative writing from Columbia and lives in Brooklyn with her husband.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Bonnie Brody TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Solace, by Belinda McKeon, is a novel about love and longing. As a noun, `solace' means to find comfort or consolation in a time of distress or sadness. As a verb, it means to give solace to someone else or oneself. This book is about people who find solace in the small things of this world and find it difficult to talk about the bigger things. They hang on to what they know, especially when they face tragedy or their worlds turn upside down.

Tom and Mark are father and son. Tom works his farm in Ireland and Mark is working on his doctorate at Trinity University in Dublin. Tom finds it difficult to understand a life that does not consist of working the land and he finds it very difficult to understand his son. Mark comes to his father's farm when he can to help out, usually on a weekend. There is a huge emotional distance between them and they often end up fighting. Maura, Mark's mother, tries to smooth things out but the gap between father and son is huge.

Mark meets a woman in Dublin named Joanne. Unfortunately, there is bad blood between Mark's father and Joanne's deceased father. This makes the relationship difficult for the family dynamics. When Joanne becomes pregnant, issues rise to the surface and even more distance is felt between Tom and Mark.

The novel takes place in the mid-2000's when Ireland is just beginning to go from a booming country to a place of poverty. What was once a land of opportunity for everyone is becoming a place where housing values are decreasing, unemployment is rising, and large companies are moving out of Ireland to cheaper venues.

Mark has been working on his dissertation for several years without much success.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Hanrahan on July 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Being Irish I was a bit apprehensive starting into this novel. The Prologue grabbed me and dragged me right into the story. Appealing characters, interesting friends, real older people who talk like older country people. Great use of commons expressions in Ireland such as "now!" and "well?" These words carry so much meaning depending on the inflections. While set in modern Ireland not weighed down by the usual clerical abuse, banking crises, texting jargon etc etc. We get enough of that in real life. I was very impressed to see the well-deserved endorsements of Colum McCann, Colm Toibin et al. Nice to see Irish writers supporting a new and talented Irish writer. Good read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Frank McGrath on January 1, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Read this on holiday in one day, and it lingers in the memory. Mark, postgrad student at Trinity College Dublin (but from Edgeworthstown, Longford) is trying to complete his doctorate on Maria Edgeworth and is torn between his academic and student pursuits, and his girlfriend, in Dublin - and the guilt-trips placed on him by his father Tom who owns a small farm at home in Longford. Mark tries to balance the competing interests but disappoints his dad.
When tragedy strikes, their relationship heals, and it is this healing which provides the "Solace" referred to in the title. Beautiful book, well worth the read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jesse H on December 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This novel is beautifully written and a great, sexy, touching love story---and who doesn't want to read that. I haven't read them in a while, but I feel like this novel is on par with Atonement, the Great Gatsby and American Pastoral, and Revolutionary road. I'm jealous of those who haven't read it yet, and get the chance to. Your mind will go on a journey to a beautiful place, and deep into your heart. I am not sure how Belinda knows so much about life, but she does. Belinda puts words to feelings that I've had but never been able to articulate.This is a page turner that you can feel good about as opposed to some of the best sellers that are so manipulating and poorly written that you feel you might as well be reading us weekly. I can't recommend this book enough. The first 256 or so pages are the best pages I have read in a long time.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Caitlin G on June 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a beautifully written novel which looks at one family in rural Ireland and how the urban vs rural is really the father vs the son. The novel moves at a leisurely pace and, even though the 'big thing' that happens is foreshadowed, it is still shocking. I found the book moving and modern but with its heart firmly set in farm culture and the life of small town Ireland.
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By monty on June 8, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Fantastic, a debut novel by a writer keen on the internal drama and social struggles of a generation. Unique, crystalline prose.
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