Category: As Long as it Takes

As Long as it Takes

9780992648510-Perfect-MH cropped FRONT COVER

The cover of As Long as it Takes can now be revealed! I love it. Image by Maggie Drury and design by Mark Holihan. The book can now be ordered from Cultured Llama, and will be dispatched soon after publication.

Here’s some info about the book:

As Long as it Takes gives voice to the lost generation of Irish women who sailed to England to look for work in the middle of the twentieth century. Maura Flaherty and her daughters struggle with identity, belonging, love, sexuality and grief – and dilemmas such as whether to like punk or Elvis.

With no concessions to nostalgia or sentimentality, this deeply moving and beautifully written book, by a second-generation Irish writer, tells the interwoven stories of an immigrant family. Maria C. McCarthy skilfully weaves the historical and cultural significance of Anglo-Irish relations into a half-century of family life.

Dark, impeccably minimalistic stories about immigrant Irish mothers and their English-born daughters. The mothers belong to the ‘lost generation’ of Irish workers who emigrated to England in the middle of the last century. They call Ireland ‘home’ and inflict old-fashioned Catholic morals on their English daughters growing up in a more liberated time and culture. Out of this tension comes a series of stories written from the perspective of several women family members, transcending these painful differences with their courageous humour and absolute refusal to look away. The stories reinforce each other and create memorable echoes, reverberating in the mind long after the book is closed.

Martina Evans, author of Petrol (Anvil 2012)

Read individually, these stories might seem modest: each cuts its small piece of cloth and lays it out with truthfulness, understanding and warmth. But characters recur and situations illuminate one another, so that when we read them together we find ourselves inside the story of a whole community of Irish immigrants, suddenly faced, as the protagonists are, with the tellingly displaced expectations and longings of a generation of women and their legacy to the generations that succeeded them. Maria C. McCarthy knows how to tell this complex story, and she tells it with humanity and imagination. The thoughts, speech and actions of her characters make them intensely alive.

Susan Wicks, author of A Place to Stop (Salt 2012)

Order the book here.

Book matters, and the Friends’ Gallery begins

We are in the final stages of editing my book As Long as it Takes. This means hours poring over the manuscript for the Cultured Llama copy-editor Anne-Marie Jordan, more hours as I accept or reject her corrections, more hours for editor Bob Carling making the changes on the manuscript.

I wrote the stories over five years, and obviously changed my mind about spelling and formatting as I went along. All very tedious to get right, but I am the first person to notice errors in books, and I would not want my readers to spot any mistakes. One of the last issues is how do you format song titles, album titles and quotations from song lyrics? We have agreed on this, but it means me trying to remember which stories feature music and checking through them, rather than re-reading the full manuscript.

More enjoyable is seeing the cover image by Maggie Drury and the jacket design by Mark Holihan. I was choked with emotion when I saw the cover. How wonderful to see this moments after Mark had finished it. I suppose, in the olden days, the camera-ready artwork was sent by courier, and the author had to wait until the publisher had seen it. I won’t share it just yet, until a couple of errant commas have been added.

I can share the first photo of my Friends’ Gallery, taken after our working lunch last week. This is part of promise to get photos taken with each of my friends in 2014. Friends in the photo (left to right): me, Biscuit (who wanted to get in on the act), Maggie Drury and Anne-Marie Jordan.

Here is the recipe for the pearl barley broth that I made for lunch, which went down very well with our guests.

As Long as it Takes will be launched on 12 February at the University of Kent. More details here.

Maria, Maggie, A-MJ small

 

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