‘Blackly comic, deeply felt and somehow heroic’
From the winner of the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award, 2021Anakana Schofield
A wickedly funny and wonderfully deranged literary debut introducing a brilliant new voice in contemporary Irish fiction
Our Woman refuses to be sunk by what life is about to serve her. She’s just caught her son Jimmy in the barn with another man. She’s been accosted by Red the Twit, who claims to have done the unmentionable with her husband. And now her son’s gone and joined the only group that will have him: an army division on its way to Afghanistan.
Setting aside her prim and proper ways, Our Woman promptly embarks on an odyssey of her own – one that forces her to look grief in the eye and come face-to-face with the mad agony of longing.
‘”Our Woman” is either utterly mad or scarily sane, a uniquely distinctive voice in a funny and perceptive trip into the off-key oddness of rural life.'
‘There were no shortage of Irish literary debuts out this year, but Anakana Schofield’s Malarky, a take on contemporary Ireland, really stands out. “Our woman” is no typical Irish mammy, but a staggeringly well-drawn protagonist who is mired in grief.’
'A refreshing rejection of the escapist fantasy that dominates much of our cultural life… I greatly enjoyed this novel, and I admire Schofield's ability to pull off something so difficult with charm and brio.'
‘Both blackly comic and deeply felt. There is something heroic about the desperate resilience of Our Woman, and the originality of her depiction by Schofield, that leaves an indelible trace on the reader’s mind.'
'Brilliant… laced with dark wit and quirky lyricism, this is a striking portrait of a society in flux and a woman on the edge.'
'A funhouse mirror reflection of contemporary Irish life.'
‘A tender and honest study of grief… full of the energy of desperate life…quite startling, and very funny.'
‘written so skilfully, funnily, respectfully and beautifully… [Our Woman is] one of the most disarmingly likeable characters you’ll encounter this year, and watching her haltingly attempt to make sense of the world at the same time as have it slip away from her is what, more than anything else, makes Malarky not just an absolute delight to read, but something which sticks with you well after you’ve finished reading.’
'Mid-guffaw you may find that you've taken it all most intensely to heart.'
'A caustic, funny, and moving fantasia of an Irish mammy going round the bend.'
'Anakana Schofield is part of a new wave of wonderful Irish fiction – international in scope and electrically alive.'