Close readers will have noticed Ian McGuire crop up in these hallowed pages before – the former co-director of the Centre for New Writing at the University of Manchester is also the acclaimed author of Man Booker Prize-longlisted The North Water, recently adapted into a four-part television series starring Colin Farrell and Tom Courtenay, and set to hit a small screen near you soon (BBC Two, in fact).
Parallels are drawn to Dickens by Roddy Doyle in his September review in The New York Times – he says, “There was very little I didn’t like and admire about The Abstainer.”
In the meantime, Ian’s latest novel is just out – called The Abstainer, it’s described as “an epic story of revenge and obsession” set in Victorian Manchester, and sounds as edgy and maybe even as grisly as his second novel (his first, 2006’s Incredible Bodies, is more of a campus novel). Parallels are drawn to Dickens by Roddy Doyle in his September review in The New York Times (where you can read an extract from the book) – he says, “There was very little I didn’t like and admire about The Abstainer.”
Here’s the plot… “Stephen Doyle arrives in Manchester from New York in 1867. He is an Irish-American veteran of the Civil War and a member of the Fenians, a secret society intent on ending British rule in Ireland, by any means necessary. Now he has come to seek vengeance. James O’Connor has fled grief and drink in Dublin for a sober start in Manchester as Head Constable. His mission is to discover and thwart the Fenians’ plans. When his long-lost nephew arrives on his doorstep, he never could have foreseen how this would imperil his fragile new life – or how his and Doyle’s fates would come to be intertwined. The rebels will be hanged at dawn, and their brotherhood is already plotting revenge.”
Ian McGuire will read from the new book and chat about it with John McAuliffe, Associate Publisher at Carcanet Press and Reader in Creative Writing at the University of Manchester – and co-founder, in 2007, of the CfNW alongside Ian – in this online event hosted by Blackwell’s Bookshop.
Sign up via Eventbrite – you will be sent an email with details of how to join the online event shortly before it starts. (Please note you must download Zoom to gain access to the event and use the same email address to log in that you used to book your tickets.) Tickets are priced at £5 each. If you would like to buy a ticket together with a signed copy of The Abstainer for £17, see the Eventbrite link.