THE WOODCUTTER AND HIS FAMILY

By
Frank McGuinness
The Woodcutter and his Family

The World War intensifies in Europe. In Zurich a writer breathes his last imagining his life till now from his childhood in Dublin. The voices of his family circling him – wife, son, daughter. And James Joyce has saved for them one last story to delight and defy them: The Woodcutter And His Children ...

Awards

Best Irish-Published Book - 2017

Short-listed

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Hardback:
224 pages
Size:
216x138 mm
ISBN:
9781847179074

Also available as an EPUB

ISBN:
9781847179890
Category Fiction

My son betrayed me. It is a family tradition.
Didn’t I do the same to my father?

The World War intensifies in Europe. In Zurich a writer breathes his last imagining his life till now from his childhood in Dublin.

The voices of his family circling him – wife, son, daughter – carry him to his end as he hears each separate chapter chronicling the power of their passion for their famous father, their love, their hate, their need, their sorrows and joys, their strangeness.

And James Joyce has saved for them one last story to delight and defy them: The Woodcutter And His Children ...

Frank McGuinness is Professor of Creative Writing in University College Dublin. A world-renowned playwright, his first great stage hit was the highly acclaimed ‘Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme’. He is also a highly skilled adapter of plays by writers such as Ibsen, Sophocles, Brecht, and writer of several film scripts, including Dancing at Lughnasa, and he has published several anthologies of poetry. 

McGuinness has created a beautiful and lyrical novel about the complications of life, and the inevitable, death and grief. Insightful in its Joycean homage, it delves the depths of memory, guilt and grief

RTE.ie/Culture

a novel worth reading for the luxuriant use of words – for anyone who relishes great writing it has much to offer

Evening Echo

McGuinness combines an interim stream of consciousness and classic Joycean dialogue to evoke a tragic, obsessive parental arrangement between a genius writer and his manipulative, yet inspring, wife … McGuinness is best known as an award-winning playwright, particularly for his highly acclaimed Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme. As Professor of Creative Writing at University College Dublin, this novel suggests he must bring exceptional learning and inspiration to his students

Sunday Independent

a book that will appeal to all James Joyce fans, both new and old … With The Woodcutter and His Family, Frank McGuinness has written a very unique tribute to this man, James Joyce, who will always be known as one of the most influential yet unconventional writers of the 20th century

writing.ie

poignant. The prose is lyrical and lively, and the book is liberally sprinkled with a mischievous, bawdy esprit that it’s subject would surely have approved of

Irish Times

beautifully written, tender and psychologically-complex story of family life … rather than focusing solely on Joyce’s perspective, Frank McGuinness gives equal space in his novel to son Archie, wife Bertha and daughter Beatrice (named differently from Joyce's actual family) before plunging into James Joyce’s point of view … No doubt, a lot of Joyce fans will enjoy this personal and poetic take on the lives of James Joyce and his family members. In particular, in James’ section it delves into his notoriously luke-warm personal interactions with Proust. Joyce hilariously refers to Proust’s magnum opus as “Cooking for Phantoms.” … More than its depiction of the great writer, this is a novel which gracefully encompasses so much of what makes Irish literature mesmerising. “The Woodcutter and His Family” is suffused with a bewitchingly morbid sense of humour and voices which insist on being heard

lonesomereader.com

It has the texture of a masterwork -- uncompromising, adroit, properly audacious, the offspring of a radiant curiosity.

Sebastian Barry

What an intricate and fascinating read The Woodcutter and His Family is. I found myself horrified, entertained, amused and sometimes bewildered as I read

Linda’s Book Bag
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