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‘A remarkable first novel’ Sunday Times

‘She takes a step closer to the mineshaft and it’s as if she steps back in time. Her grandfather is standing where she is standing now, a young man not much older than she is, who knows nothing about the future, nothing about her.’

Generation is a short novel that contains a huge amount, taking place over eighty years, three continents and three generations.

At its heart is Áine, a recently divorced woman in her thirties who wants some kind of escape from her life in Ireland: from her ex-husband and his pregnant girlfriend, her mundane job and unexciting love life. So she goes to stay for a few weeks on an organic farm near Chicago, with her six-year-old daughter Daisy. The trip doesn’t turn out as she imagined it would, and that summer will have unforeseeable consequences for everyone involved.

Ambitious and gripping, Generation moves effortlessly from the smallest of details to the largest of canvases, as the repercussions of the decisions taken by parents play out in the lives of their children for years to come.

Reviews

Spanning generations and continents on an epic scale in a short space, Paula McGrath's ambitious, sensitive novel, Generation has been compared to The Spinning Heart, by Donal Ryan because of its similarly revolving points of view
Irish Independent
The story bounces off at all sorts of tangents along the way, revealing snippets of background information that fill in the bigger picture . . . Each new narrator gives the reader a fresh slant on the story and ensures that the resulting journey is never dull. As the book went on, the storyline became more intense and gripping. I couldn't put it down. In fact, one night, I put the book down before bed and I had to get up and finish it at about two in the morning because I needed to know what was going to happen next! . . . [Generation] felt fresh, new and different and I will be interested to see what this promising author comes up with next
Bookbag
Paula McGrath's debut novel doesn't lack in ambition. Over the course of 80 years and three generations, a series of vignettes tell the tales of immigrants affected by the actions of a mother who leaves Ireland for life in Chicago
Shortlist
There's a cool, airy quality to McGrath's precise prose. It is quiet in its dissection of domestic drudgery and hopes abandoned, chilling in the slow revelation of underlying dark urges. Her characters seem completely real; so real that I was left wanting to find out more about the minor players . . . compelling
We Love This Book
The voices are beautifully woven together, and the prose has a weight and resonance way beyond he book's slender length. The rhythm of the writing varies according to the character being described, but the general sense is of stark clarity and poetic compression . . . one of the most striking things about McGrath's impressive debut is the sureness of her voice, and tone. Also, her ambition: this little novel stretches across 80 years, and three continents and into an astonishing tangle of different heads
Sunday Times Culture
A gripping read
Guardian
An ambitious debut exploring the effect one generation has on the next
Irish Examiner
Paula McGrath has created a startling first novel . . . Akin to Colm Toibin's Brooklyn, Generation is as much about the bonds between strangers as those in families. A powerful meditation on the promise, and disillusionments, of migration
New Statesman
There are numerous moments of beautiful prose . . . Other story strands interweave and interconnect, but none have as strong a grip as that of Aine's, which anchors the novel in a realistic, compelling and often thriller-like manner
Irish Examiner
Particularly impressive is the skilful way McGrath delineates her characters . . . A glass of wine is described as "pouring redemption", and such imagery reflects McGrath's love throughout for the resonances of language . . . Mark Richards, editorial director with JM Originals, McGrath's publisher, has said the imprint is "a space where risks can be taken and hunches can be backed, because literary careers make sense over the long-term". Such support for innovation and ambition should be commended - as should McGrath's determination to realise her literary vision
Irish Times