A big-hearted, funny and sad novel about the messiness of love, family and belief
LONGLISTED FOR THE DESMOND ELLIOTT PRIZE
SHORTLISTED FOR IRISH NOVEL OF THE YEAR AWARD
‘Hilarious and timely, a dazzling debut’ John Boyne
‘Bustling, bubbly, bittersweet fun’ Daily Mail
‘Bulging, big-hearted, a pleasure to read’ Irish Times
‘Dazzling. A novel of epic ambition yet intimate in scope’ Literary Review
‘Think Zadie Smith. But much funnier’ Sunday Independent
‘Very moving, highly entertaining, clever and funny’ Sunday Times (Ireland)
‘Funny, warm and full of heart’ Image Magazine
In 1979 Bridget Doyle has one goal left in life: for her family to produce the very first Irish pope. Fired up by John Paul II’s appearance in Phoenix Park, she sprinkles Papal-blessed holy water on the marital bed of her son and daughter-in-law, and leaves them to get on with things. But nine months later her daughter-in-law dies in childbirth and Granny Doyle is left bringing up four grandchildren: five-year-old Peg, and baby triplets Damien, Rosie and John Paul.
Thirty years later, it seems unlikely any of Granny Doyle’s grandchildren are going to fulfil her hopes. Damien is trying to work up the courage to tell her that he’s gay. Rosie is a dreamy blue-haired rebel who wants to save the planet and has little time for popes. And irrepressible John Paul is a chancer and a charmer and the undisputed apple of his Granny’s eye – but he’s not exactly what you’d call Pontiff material.
None of the triplets have much contact with their big sister Peg, who lives over 3,000 miles away in New York City, and has been a forbidden topic of conversation ever since she ran away from home as a teenager. But that’s about to change.
Reviews of Future Popes of Ireland
- ‘Bulging, big-hearted, engrossing …Writers such as Anne Tyler and Jane Smiley come to mind, or Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections … Epic in scale and a pleasure to read, Future Popes of Ireland will have no problem finding its congregation’ Sarah Gilmartin, Irish Times
- ‘Very moving, highly entertaining, clever and funny’ Sunday Times (Ireland)
- ‘Darragh Martin’s bustling, bubbly novel plants a flag on terrain Roddy Doyle’s Barrytown novels made their own … a great deal of bittersweet fun’ Daily Mail
- ‘You can practically smell the past as it wafts up at you from [these] pages … and while there’s tragedy, and outrage, too, there’s whipsmart satire and riotous comedy alongside a type of scholarliness that provides this novel with its zest and ingenuity. Think Zadie Smith. But much funnier’ Sunday Independent
- ‘Stylish verve and astute characterisation’ Irish Independent
- ‘Funny, warm and full of heart’ Image Magazine
- ‘Raucously funny and genuinely moving. It’s the depth of the characters which makes Future Popes of Ireland such a compelling, beautifully conceived family saga; the Doyles are going to stay with me as insistently as the people I’ve met in real life. A humane, deeply witty and intelligent exploration of faith and its contradictions, and a world which combines the quotidian and the metaphysical, in which every object – from a bottle of water to a smartphone to a scratchcard – could be a holy relic. A joy from start to finish’ Luke Kennard
- ‘I really enjoyed this story of four siblings who grow up, discover who they are, fall apart, and somehow, against all odds in an Ireland that is itself struggling to emerge from its mired past, find a way back to each other. This is salutary, compassionate, concerned and oh-so-human storytelling at its very best’ Alan McMonagle, author of Ithaca
- ‘Well observed, original, gripping, funny and poignant. This novel is a classic’ Jo Spain
- ‘Hilarious and timely, a dazzling debut’ John Boyne