The extraordinary new story collection from one of Ireland's greatest writers and bestselling author of Mindwinter Break.
Bernard MacLaverty is a consummately gifted short-story writer and novelist whose work - like that of John McGahern, William Trevor, Edna O'Brien or Colm Tóibín - is deceptively simple on the surface, but carries a turbulent undertow. Everywhere, the dark currents of violence, persecution and regret pull at his subject matter: family love, the making of art, Catholicism, the Troubles and, latterly, ageing.
Blank Pages is a collection of twelve extraordinary new stories that show the emotional range of a master. 'Blackthorns', for instance, tells of a poor out-of-work Catholic man who falls gravely ill in the sectarian Northern Ireland of 1942 but is brought back from the brink by an unlikely saviour. The most recently written story here is the harrowing but transcendent 'The End of Days', which imagines the last moments in the life of painter Egon Schiele, watching his wife dying of Spanish flu - the world's worst pandemic, until now.
Much of what MacLaverty writes is an amalgam of sadness and joy, of circumlocution and directness. He never wastes words but neither does he ever forget to make them sing. Each story he writes creates a universe.
'Can we just accept that Bernard MacLaverty is one of the greats now?' Herald
MacLaverty locates the precise point where life bleeds into art, and art into life...like the best writers through the ages, he is confident and questioning, engaged and wise.
This fine collection reaffirms MacLaverty's place among the greatest short story writers of his generation.
I can't think of another living writer whose attention to the small acts and seemingly inconsequential details of our lives unlocks so much emotional truth.
Each new collection is its own rare gift - and one to be savoured.
A stunning achievement. Bernard MacLaverty is undoubtedly one of the finest and most gifted writers at work today, and in terms of the short story he has no better