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Malarky Paperback – 1 Aug 2013

3.6 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications (1 Aug. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780742703
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780742700
  • Product Dimensions: 21.7 x 1.7 x 15.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 92,035 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

WINNER OF THE AMAZON.CA FIRST NOVEL AWARD SELECTED AS A BARNES & NOBLE DISCOVER GREAT NEW WRITERS PICK SHORTLISTED FOR THE ETHEL WILSON FICTION PRIZE NAMED ON SIXTEEN DIFFERENT BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR LISTS

‘A caustic, funny and moving fantasia of an Irish mammy going round the bend.’
Emma Donoghue, author of Room

‘Anakana Schofield is part of a new wave of wonderful Irish fiction - international in scope and electrically alive.’
Colum McCann, author of Let the Great World Spin

‘A word of warning regarding this one of a kind tale of a woman’s endeavours to accept the realities of her life on their own terms: midguffaw you may find that you’ve taken it all most intensely to heart. I read Malarky over a year ago and Our Woman is still with me, so the process is probably irreversible.’
Helen Oyeyemi, author of Mr Fox

‘Good writing and dark wit always excite me and they come together thrillingly in this book. It has a quiet grip on the strangeness of the interior and exterior worlds of love and politics and their inextricability. I delighted in the writing and the scope - macro and microscopic.’
Jenny Diski, author of What I Don’t Know About Animals

‘Malarky spins and glitters like a coin flipped in the air – now searingly tragic, now blackly funny. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.’
Annabel Lyon, author of The Golden Mean

‘Malarky is a terrific read, a brilliant collision of heartbreak and hilarity written in a voice that somehow seems both feral and perfectly controlled. Anakana Schofield’s Our Woman takes a cool nod at Joyce, then goes her own way in one of the most moving and lyrical debut novels I’ve read.’
Jess Walter, author of Beautiful Ruins

‘Quirky, raucous, and utterly unconventional.’
Reader’s Digest

‘Schofield’s richest gift is for spirited dialogue which crackles with humor and energy in this blackly funny, half mad tale . . . the most distinctive novel of its kind I’ve read in a decade.’
Irish Central

‘Delightfully offbeat . . . Schofield shows a deft - and altogether welcome - comic touch . . . One of the season’s best reads.’
The National Post

‘Dead-on, with pitch-perfect speech patterns of rural Ireland . . . Some of this comically laconic dialogue and inner chatter calls to mind the great works of comic absurdity by Flann O’Brien.’
The Globe and Mail

‘Hums with electric wit and linguistic daring. The novel traverses darkly comic territory with intelligence and poise, relating the story of an unnamed narrator whose resilience in the face of life’s disappointments will stay with readers long after the verbal pyrotechnics have dissipated. Anakana Schofield is a true original, and her novel is a delight.’
Quill & Quire

‘A glorious, breathless romp through the mind of an immensely likeable woman.’
Slightly Bookist

‘This is a brilliant book. Finely drawn, deceptively muscular, and pulsing with warm intelligence and wit.’
The Rover

‘A miracle . . . move over Molly Bloom, Anakana Schofield has mastered the hundreds of voices that make up one person, and the negotiations, confusions, and occasional consolations that transpire among them.’
Little Star

‘Potent and fresh . . . In certain moments, we are not so far from Beckett’s Molloy - Our Woman comes close to enlivening not only the political and the personal but also the human.’
San Francisco Chronicle

‘One of the most vivid fictional creations to come along in years.’
Montreal Gazette

‘Anakana Schofield’s brilliantly bizarre debut novel follows a middle aged woman as she rolls up her sleeves and charges into a late-in-life sexual awakening.’
Flare Magazine

‘Malarky is an alternately beautiful, brilliant, profound, poignant and comedic work of literary fiction.’
Winnipeg Free Press

‘Schofield’s brilliant storytelling in Malarky is among the most engaging I’ve ever encountered.’
The Longest Chapter

‘This is a funny, raunchy, moving read, written in beautiful, brave prose.’
The Next Best Book Blog

‘Malarky is a journey beyond the limits of love, an equally sad and hilarious portrait of motherhood. Malarky is like nothing else, and what everything should be.’
Pickle Me This

‘Malarky is a wacky, dead serious book, and what stands out more than anything is its freshness in a sea of same-old, same-old novels . . . has all the makings of being a big book of the year, if the hype should build. And it should.’
Telegraph Journal

‘The novel is a challenging read, but for all the right reasons.’
Vancouver Sun

‘I laughed, I cried . . . The immensely gifted Anakana Schofield’s vivid study of a middle-aged Irish housewife’s nervous breakdown has a huge heart and a fierce brain; Malarky is, by a wide margin, the most memorable fiction I’ve read this year.’
Georgia Straight

‘With great aplomb and shite-smeared wellies, Malarky stomps squarely into the territory of Flann O’Brien, Samuel Beckett, Roddy Doyle, and Martin McDonagh . . . A smashing debut.’
Review of Contemporary Fiction

‘Electrifying.’
Edmonton Journal, ‘Five Favorite Reads of 2012’

About the Author

Anakana Schofield is an Anglo–Irish writer of fiction, essays, and literary criticism. Malarky, her first novel, won the Amazon.ca First Novel Award, was selected as a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Pick, and was shortlisted for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. It has also been named on sixteen different Best Books of the Year lists.


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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Purpleheart TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 18 Aug. 2014
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
'- There's no way round it, I'm finding it very hard to be a widow, I told Grief, the counsellor woman, that Tuesday morning.
- Are you missing your husband a great deal?
- Not especially. I miss the routine of his demands, it's true, but I am plagued day and night with thoughts I'd rather be without.'

The novel opens with 'Our woman', a widow of three days discussing her recent bereavement with her grief counsellor, to whom she confesses her thoughts about "naked men. At each other all the time, all day long. I can't get it out of my head." Schofield's humour is evident in the counsellor's suggestion that Our Woman "scrub the kitchen floor very vigorously and see would a bit of distraction help".

One of the best things about this novel is Schofield's ear for dialogue. She can evoke rural Ireland with her turns of phrase and her affectionate portrayals of the gang of women that Our Woman spends time with. Our woman explores the infidelity of her husband and her son's coming out with her own sexual adventures. This is an original novel with an episodic structure. I found the latter parts less convincing but the language alone gives it four stars.
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By laineyf VINE VOICE on 3 Nov. 2014
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
How to review this amazingly brilliant, original book? It is a stand alone voice in a world that doesn't listen. It's funny, sad, moving, silly, and just strange!! It's one woman in a world where she is taken for granted, leaned on, used and bled dry by her circumstances and her family, and it's her fightback, her making her voice heard and her feelings known. Life is hard for 'Our Woman' and she has her hands full dealing with the vagaries of her family. At times, she seems as mad as a box of frogs, but throughout it all, her voice, and her indomitable spirit call out to us. I loved this book, enjoyed it, and recommend it wholeheartedly. It's a triumph!!
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By Lily VINE VOICE on 23 April 2014
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A wonderful, funny book which tells the story of a middle-aged farmer's wife on her journey from nervous breakdown to sexual awakening.An unusual story, well told and beautifully written - I loved it.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
....& highly enjoyable! This is quite an anarchic, quirky, odd, mad-hatter of a book! It has gentle humour, but also a number of laugh-out-loud moments. Behind it all, however, is quite a sad, desperate story of a woman approaching madness due to happenings beyond her control in her life. Ultimately, it is an uplifting book though, & one that will, as it did with me, stay long in the mind. The main threads concern Gayness, obsession, betrayal & grief. It sounds hard going, & at times it is uncomfortable reading. But it is brilliantly written, gets you thinking, entertains & informs you. I loved this book.
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By xenofan VINE VOICE on 18 Sept. 2014
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The blurb on the book promised so much! “caustic, funny and moving" was one claim. "Electrically alive" another. Well, sorry but I just found the whole thing confusing. Yes it did offer some interesting ideas including a description of oral sex described as a slobbering cow, and a philandering husband who I couldn’t really be bothered to have an opinion about . Gave up after page 52. I did try! Honest!
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By Lincs Reader TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 16 Aug. 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The cover of this novel is scattered with praising comments from well-known and much-loved authors such as Emma Donoghue and Margaret Atwood. The paperback version is beautifully presented, with almost childlike illustrations that on closer inspection, are perfectly suited to the story within.

Malarky is not an easy read by any means, although it is a short novel at just over 200 pages. The story is set out in episodes, rather than chapters and although the setting is modern-day Ireland, Our Woman has a very traditional and distinctly regional thought process that is echoed in her speech (or thoughts as is usually the case during the story). The episodes are often short, and sometimes change quickly in tense and voice, which at times can be challenging to the reader. I was able to read the whole novel in two sittings and I personally think that this would be the best way to tackle Malarky, immerse yourself in the world of Our Woman.

Obsession, psychosis and sex - these are the three main themes that I took from this story. Our Woman is obsessed with her husband, her son, and what her circle of friends may be thinking of her. The issues of sexuality and infidelity feature heavily and the psychotic episodes have a strange, sad, sometimes humorous tinge to them.

A lonely farmer's wife, in rural Ireland. Dealing with homosexuality and betrayal - then grief. This is an unusual novel, it's quirky and a little off-the-wall. It's also beautifully written, honest, often startling and sometimes uncomfortable. It's clever, maybe sometimes a little too clever - a little prior knowledge of Catholic Ireland, history and folklore does help.

Certainly a novel that will make people talk, some will love it, I have no doubt that some will not. Me? I liked it very much.
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By Dr David Mankin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 31 Oct. 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
A curious tale which has an emotional intensity at its core. This is a novel which is likely to linger in your mind long after you've read it. I'll only reveal the opening to offer an insight into the strangeness of the story: In the opening chapter, we are introduced to the narrator, recently widowed, who is referred to throughout as "Our Woman". This quirkiness is difficult to accept at first but the quality of the author's prose quickly dissuaded me of any concerns. I was struck by the counsellor's suggestion that 'our woman' should scrub the kitchen floor after making certain confessions to the grief counsellor. I saw a brief TV interview in which Anakana Schofield explained, in reponse to a question from someone in the media, that she had been given an advance of $6000 against worldwide rights. It's a shame that someone as talented as her should be forced to accept such meagre advances when publishers are so quick to offer 'celebrities' such vast sums for (let's be honest here - ghost written) vacuous "auto-biographies". If you enjoy literary novels then give this a try. You'll enjoy it. Highly recommended
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