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This Magnificent Desolation: A Novel Hardcover – March 19, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA (March 19, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781608192793
  • ISBN-13: 978-1608192793
  • ASIN: 1608192792
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 2.2 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,165,151 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Duncan Bright, age 10 in 1980, remembers being born in a catastrophic blizzard and God speaking to him at that moment . . . and nothing else. Reclaimed by his mother, Maggie, whom he presumed dead, from a loving but bleak Catholic orphanage, Duncan maintains an aura of purity and goodness. He settles into a dreary life with his mother hard by the battered wharves of the San Francisco Bay among the forgotten poor. This literary novel soars and at times flat-out wanders off into reveries about pain, waste, angels, death, the ethereal beauty of song, traumatized Vietnam veterans, and Duncan’s imagined fate of the Apollo 11 astronauts who never return to earth (the title refers to Buzz Aldrin’s description of the lunar surface). O’Malley writes shimmering, luminescent prose. But the novel feels episodic at times, and the litany of despair may tire some readers. Yet it is a deeply spiritual novel about dissipation and waste. Although Duncan remains an enigma, Maggie is a fully realized character, a great opera singer whose career is snuffed out when her vocal chords are shredded following her breakthrough brilliant performance. Regrets, resignation, and a spiraling alcoholism fill her days as an occasional saloon singer, as she nevertheless provides Duncan with a love of great purity, filled with uncertain adventure. --Jonathan Schwartz

Review

"A beautiful, floating novel. Thomas O'Malley writes with grace and style and bravery. There is not an ounce of cynicism here. While most of us remain earthbound, O'Malley allows us to believe that we can, at various times, go to an imaginative elsewhere. Even the desolation can have its own magnificence. O'Malley is a great talent, reminiscent of another Irish writer, Sebastian Barry."--Colum McCann

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bookbag on April 21, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a former high school English teacher and adjunct professor of literature, I don't award five stars easily. This is one of the best novels I have read in a long time. I agree with Mr Pendergrast's review and the Amazon blurb.
Although this is a wonderful read for those just interested in plot, this novel
deserves to be read several times to truly appreciate the artistry of the writing. The sensory images alone are magical.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lou pendergrast on March 24, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Review

What a story this is, layered with some great descriptive writing characters and words in the right places. The Steinbeck or Cormac McCarthy reader will love this authors crafted ability to write presented in this novel, written with the same darkness and light, struggle and triumph and matters supernatural than the mentioned authors have written with. A real treat of a read for this year and one to recommend and add to my best of 2013 list of reads.
Read an excerpt or a first chapter kindle sample and you will clearly see a great story with some great writing.
The book art and great title lived up to judging a book by its cover and done a great service in me wanting to read this.

The narrative of a young boy and hooks you into the world around him visible and unseen that he talks of, others do too, it hypnotically immerses you in this tale. His struggle and hope, and his love for his mother and wanting of his lost father makes great storytelling and could touch a cord in the readers heart. His light and dark world may have you fully intertwined as if you are there with him in his shoes.

Another memorable and likeable character is Joshua a veteran and a hard laborer, a worker in the building of tunnels, he too talks with a keener eye on things unseen but known of and meaningful to himself.

The boys mother was once an opera singer but as tragedy hit, the tables had turned and she lived in memories and darkness but her return of her long lost son could prove to be her saving grace her resolution and could help her recapture and revive her gift.

A wonderful redemptive story of Love, family, gifted and talented characters and the worlds bigger picture.
Read more ›
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By susan Wescott on April 27, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A beautifully written book with a sense of ethereal mysticism that is true to the title throughout . The author excellently describes the desolation of the landscapes and lives in which the characters reside . As a reader, you instinctively realize what the ending will be but are given another view through the eyes of a little boy who only knows desolation and does not even realize that it could be different .
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More About the Author

Thomas O'Malley was raised in Ireland and England, and emigrated to the U.S. from Ireland at the age of sixteen. He is the author of the noirl, Serpents in the Cold (co-authored with Douglas Graham Purdy), This Magnificent Desolation (Bloomsbury), and In the Province of Saints (Little, Brown & Co.). He earned his B.A. at UMass Boston, his M.F.A. at the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been a Returning Writing Fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Mass, and the recipient of the Grace Paley endowed Fellowship. He lives in the Boston area and is on the creative writing faculty at Dartmouth College. He has recently completed a dystopian novel, The Inspector from Cumbria, and the noir We Will be Kings, the second book in "The Boston Saga," with author Douglas Graham Purdy.

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This Magnificent Desolation: A Novel
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