Mr Lynch's Holiday Hardcover – 1 Aug 2013
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Delightful ... a rare love story between a father and a son (Sunday Telegraph)
An awesomely talented writer (Jonathan Coe)
Ms O'Flynn is 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)
O'Flynn writes with brilliant wit and warmth about people cast adrift in contemporary wildernesses, and the resolution between father and son is surprising and satisfying (The Times)
Like Jonathan Coe, O'Flynn has a gift for catching recent social history in her fiction, and this is a cuttingly down-to-earth book about families, expats and the experience of being Irish in Britain in the 1970s (Sunday Times)
The charm of this story of the skill and pathos with which the touching father and son relationship is portrayed. Subtle, clever and thoroughly enjoyable (Sunday Mirror)
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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
Eamonn , the son, is lost and adrift in an unfinished Spanish housing development. His old recently widowed dad Dermot makes his first trip abroad to check up on his son. He is shocked at Eamonn's mental, physical and financial state. They have never had a close relationship with Eamonn having no great respect for his dad and the old man's outdated values and attitudes. Over the course of the visit they get to know each other for the first time. The younger man slowly discovers his father's wisdom and the father his son's needs.
There is reference to matters from their past lives never revealed to each other before. The mum and dad's happy marriage was not what it seemed . Dermot comes out with one of the saddest lines I have read : since your mother died I am less lonely.
The book touches on illegal immigrants, the IRA in the 70s the London explosions in 7/7 and other topical references over the last 50years.
Several other expats make up the cast of characters marooned in this bankrupt development. Each with their reason for being there. There are no superheroes, no violence, no pornography, no bad language worth mentioning. Just a good story about decent people.
This is a fine easy read. I shall read more by Ms.O'Flynn
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I really like Catherine O'Flynn's writing, she's very good at small details and observations. This shortish novel moves between different time periods - I thought the 'flashbacks'... Read morePublished 12 days ago by D. Henderson
I loved this book so warm and with such lovely personal touches.Published 8 months ago by Christine Adams
Eamonn lives in maudlin isolation in a half-built complex of apartments on the Spanish coast, populated mostly by cats, a handful of stir-crazy ex-pats, and some glimpsed,... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Mr Blue Sky
I waited all year to read this book, I don't buy unless it's discounted for kindle. It was worth the wait, well written poignant story, wig a some what predictable end.Published 13 months ago by Dv Sandiford
Lovely story, perfectly observed characters. But my main comment is to say thank you, thank you to Catherine O'Flynn for her spot on descriptions of the 1st/2nd generation Irish... Read morePublished 14 months ago by S. Hannafin
I bought 'What Was Lost' and it reignited a long lost passion for fiction. So much so that I wish I could read it again for the first time. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Jimnydriver