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Mr Lynch's Holiday [Paperback]

Catherine O'Flynn
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

3 July 2014

Mr Lynch's Holiday is the new comic novel by Catherine O'Flynn, the bestselling and prize-winning author of What Was Lost and The News Where You Are.

'I'm looking forward to seeing you and Laura and getting my first taste of "abroad".' Eamonn Lynch stares at the letter announcing his father's imminent arrival. His first thought: I'll make an excuse, I'll put him off. But it's too late. Laura has left, and Dermot is already here, a fresh arrival from Ireland to southern Spain. Now it's just the two of them, father and son, for two long, hot weeks.

Neither knows quite what to make of the other. But as they are swept up in the British expats' ceaseless barbecuing and bickering, they begin to discover the truth about why each left home and about the family past. At the same time they uncover a shocking, unacknowledged secret at the heart of this defiant but beleaguered community.

Mr Lynch's Holiday is the moving story of a father and son pushed together in sunny Spain. With warmth and wit it is about the clash of generations; about how families fracture and heal themselves; and about how living "abroad" can be less like a holiday and more like a life sentence.

'An awesomely talented writer' Jonathan Coe

'Delightful ... a rare love story between a father and a son' Sunday Telegraph

'Subtle, clever and thoroughly enjoyable' Sunday Mirror

'A remarkable and original writer ... tenderness, warmth, thoughtfulness and comic genius are words that are flung around a lot, but it's more than that. She flinches at nothing and is as sharp as dammit' Fay Weldon, Observer

'A flow of laugh-aloud satire ... sharp enough to rank her with Mark Haddon and Marina Lewckya' Independent on Sunday on The News Where You Are

Catherine O'Flynn was born in 1970 and raised in Birmingham, the youngest of six children. Her debut novel, What Was Lost, won the Costa First Novel Award, was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and was longlisted for the Booker and Orange Prizes. Her second novel, The News Where You Are, was shortlisted for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize and an Edgar Allen Poe Award.

Frequently Bought Together

Mr Lynch's Holiday + What Was Lost + The News Where You Are
Price For All Three: 19.22

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  • What Was Lost 6.54
  • The News Where You Are 6.39

Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (3 July 2014)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0141046376
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141046372
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 14,917 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


An awesomely talented writer (Jonathan Coe)

About the Author

Catherine O'Flynn was born in 1970 and raised in Birmingham, the youngest of six children. Her parents ran a sweet shop. Prior to the publication of her first novel she did a variety of jobs including journalist, web editor, record shop manager, post woman, teacher and mystery shopper. Her debut novel, What Was Lost, won the Costa First Novel Award, was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, The Commonwealth Writers' Prize and The Southbank Show Literature Award. It was longlisted for the Booker and Orange Prizes. She was named Waterstone's Newcomer of the Year at the 2008 Galaxy British Book Awards. Her second novel The News Where You Are, published in 2010, was shortlisted for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize, an Edgar Allen Poe Award and was a Channel 4 TV Book Club selection. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Don't Want A Holiday in the Sun 5 Aug 2013
Dermot Lynch, the retired bus driver and recently widowed father in Catherine O'Flynn's novel, Mr Lynch's Holiday, arrives accidentally unannounced to take a short break with his son, Eamonn. This is an appropriately unprepossessing start to what turns out to be a deeply enjoyable novel that illuminates the complex relationships between children and parents. It also has a good deal to say about what is 'home' and what is a 'holiday'.

The 'home' that Eamonn has made for himself and his recently departed partner is a half-completed development of apartments in Southern Spain, abandoned by its developers and offering a roof over the heads of feral cats, a small cast of assorted ex-pats and the ghosts of immigrants yet to come. Dermot's 'home' is revealed to us in a series of recollections of life in 1960s and 70s Birmingham, an immigrant himself and as an Irishman not always welcomed. His 'holiday' is rather out of character (it is certainly not a busman's...) and by the end of the novel perhaps both Eamonn and Dermot are referred to in the title.

In many ways, this is a book about first generation immigrants to the UK and about how their children subsequently responded to what looked like a far more welcoming world in the 2000s. Sometimes one needs to go further away to see clearly, and both Eamonn and Dermot eventually understand each other through being obliged to look back across time and distance. It turns out that parents are slightly more worldly and aware than their permanently logged-on offspring imagine, and children are not always as confident as their world-weariness might suggest.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another small gem from O'Flynn 29 Sep 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Retired widower Dermot descends unexpectedly on his son Eamonn in Spain. At the height of the financial crisis, the developer of Eamonn's new village by the sea has gone bust, leaving most of the flats and houses unfinished and the swimming pool full of leaves and stray cats. And Eamonn's girlfriend Laura has left him.

This was, in many ways, a book about the difference between the generations: Dermot, seventy-something, is self-reliant, reliable, never moans; while Eamonn, at 33, is helpless, hopeless and self-pitying. Eamonn has a huge chip on his shoulder about his working class background whereas Dermot accepts everyone -- including, crucially, himself -- as they are.

I love O'Flynn's writing, which is full of brilliant apercus. In a few deft lines she sketches the middle-class couple who dreamed of retiring to Spain and now spend their time doing word puzzles and Skyping their oblivious grandchildren, who just play in their rooms while ignoring them. The constant visits in both directions that they imagined have been scuppered by the financial crisis and you know without being told that the couple would give anything to go home.

This is her third small, perfect novel. She deserves a much wider audience.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just a little bit different.... 2 Sep 2013
By jaffareadstoo TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
Retired bus driver Dermot Lynch arrives in Southern Spain on his first trip abroad ostensibly to spend quality time with his son Eamonn. But all is not well in this southern paradise, and very soon cracks begin to appear, not just in the idyllic landscape, but also in the rapport between father and son.

Beautifully observed throughout, Catherine O'Flynn has certainly captured this slightly quirky look at human relationships. With her usual self confidence, she captures the diffidence and awkwardness which comes out of a parent and adult child relationship, where neither parent or child really know each other very well.

The cloistered world of the Spanish expatriate community really comes to life and clearly shows that to live the dream, one must also have an idea of the type of dream you are chasing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breath of Fresh Air.... 15 Feb 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
Just finished this lovely book and can't recommend it highly enough. The main characters are very well drawn and easy to empathise with on many levels. O'Flynn's writing is perfectly succinct, cleverly insightful and humorous - just right to carry the story and emotional path of Eamonn and Dermot's time and history together. The book provoked many memories of my own childhood and of my experiences as a dad - the swimming incident being probably the most touching thing I've read for a while. If you've not read Catherine's other novels ( 'The News Where You Are' and 'What Was Lost') I suggest you do so immediately - already really looking forward to her next novel eagerly!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book to put a smile on your face.... 12 Nov 2013
Dermot Lynch is a retired bus driver living in Birmingham but with Irish roots. He has been a widower for five months and the book begins with him arriving unannounced to visit his only son Eamonn and his girlfriend Laura who are living in southern Spain. He did send a letter but Eamonn is living in such depressed circumstances that he has neglected to open his post. Laura has left him, his work has dried up and his house needs repairs.

Lomaverde is a new urbanisation - but the developers have gone bankrupt and many of the houses are only half finished. It has the air of a ghost town with feral cats outnumbering the residents.

Like any ex-pat community, the residents do not really like each other but find they are socialising with people they would cross the road to avoid in UK. Catherine O'Flynn writes brilliantly about the various ex-pats and their foibles.

As the book progresses Dermot and Eamonn gradually reignite their relationship and get to know each other better. Dermot, for all his simple unschooled background, is soon revealed as far wiser than his son.

This is a very enjoyable book. It is not "laugh out loud" funny but a book you read with a smile on your face. I am already looking forward to her next book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars pleasant read
First book I've read by Catherine O'Flynn. I will be reading further books by this novelist.
What a lovely dad Dermot is. I just hope he finds the happiness he deserves
Published 1 day ago by Tish
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great read
Published 5 days ago by P. J. Wedlake
1.0 out of 5 stars Not boring but not gripping
Never really got going - not much of a story
Published 8 days ago by kay bumford
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good little story ,enjoyable
Published 9 days ago by Marlene Gillespie
4.0 out of 5 stars Not just a holiday read
I read this in Spain, and I know the setting and types of ex-pats she describes. Ms O'Flynn captures the mood and nuances well. Read more
Published 10 days ago by integrityexpected
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor Mr Lynch and family
Sorry but I found this disappointing, depressing and not worth the time I spent reading it. Poor Mr Lynch and family.
Published 13 days ago by Roxanne Ashpool
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
A good read.
Published 15 days ago by JUNE GLYNN
4.0 out of 5 stars unusual and thoughtful
A gentle, absorbing read. Catherine O'Flynn writes in a thoughtful, unusual manner. Nothing like the predictable holiday in Spain story. Read more
Published 16 days ago by Amazon Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Read review in sunday mag. It's ok but not compulsive reading.
Published 17 days ago by Jo Broadfoot
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Did nt like the jumping about from present to past much!
Published 21 days ago by Glenda
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