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Ithaca by Alan McMonagle
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Summer 2009, the Irish boom times are over, and eleven-year-old Jason Lowry is preoccupied with thoughts of the Da he has never known. In the meantime, his vodka-swilling, swings-from-the-hip Ma, is busy entertaining her latest boyfriend and indulging her fondness for joyriding in the nearest available car.

Fed up with his Ma's antics and fending off the debt collectors who are baying for their blood, Jason escapes to the Swamp: a mysteriously rising pool of fetid water on the outskirts of the town. There, he meets the girl, a being as lost as himself, and with even less regard for reality. Together, they conjure exotic adventures - from ancient Egypt to the search for Ithaca, home of Odysseus - as Jason seeks to locate his elusive Da. But as their exploits tailspin from innocent pretense into a netherworld of danger and very real harm, Jason finds that the girl is a dangerous partner in crime - and soon he is in unsafe territory.

Treading a blurry line between helter-skelter comedy and quiet desperation, Ithaca is the darkly comic story of how far a lonely boy will go to find what he's looking for, and how in searching for what we've lost, we risk losing sight of what we have.


"By the novel's end, this crescendo of beautifully-crafted writing has the reader yearning for a future for him that reflects the dreams he retreats to so often. Ithaca is as hopeful as it is heart-breaking and Jason is a kid that we need to believe will succeed out there. We're too invested, too protective of him, to entertain any other outcome" RTÉ

"This is top-notch stuff . . . there is an originality of voice here that I have not come across in Irish fiction for quite some years now. And through the prism of Jason's energetic first-person narrative - that's bursting with black humour, tenderness, and emotion in equal measure - the socially deprived world he is growing up in comes into focus with absolute clarity . . . I nearly died laughing, and was exceptionally moved too, reading this stylish, dark existential tale: which explores the fine line between the language of dreams and reality, and between the material and mythological world too" Sunday Independent

Pan Macmillan UK; February 2017
320 pages; ISBN 9781760552343
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Title: Ithaca
Author: Alan McMonagle
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