Hand in the Fire

Hugo Hamilton

You have a funny way of doing things here.

The voice is that of Vid Cosic, a Serbian immigrant whose immediate friendship with a young Dublin lawyer, Kevin Concannon, is overshadowed by a violent incident in which a man is left for dead in the street one night. The legal fallout forces them into an ever closer, uncertain partnership, drawing Vid right into the Concannon family, working for them as a carpenter on a major renovation project and becoming more and more involved in their troubled family story.

While he claims to have lost his own memory in a serious accident back home in Serbia, he cannot help investigating the emerging details of a young woman from Connemara who was denounced by the church and whose pregnant body was washed up on the Aran Islands many years ago. Was it murder or suicide? And what dark impact does this event in the past still have on the Concannon family now?

As the deadly echo of hatred and violence begins to circle closer around them, Vid finds this spectacular Irish friendship coming under increasing threat with fatal consequences.

Drawing on his own speckled, Irish-German background, Hugo Hamilton has given us a highly compelling and original view of contemporary Ireland, the nature of welcome and the uneasy trespassing into a new country.

Reviews of Hand in the Fire

    • ‘Hugo Hamilton is a major international writer who just happens to have grown up in Ireland. His great subject is innocence. In its strength and grace, his work glows.’Anne Enright
    • ‘Hamilton is adept at portraying issues of cultural translation…an intriguing addition to Hamilton’s fictional oeuvre.’ TLS
    • ‘Love and violence are two sides of the same coin in this sympathetic consideration of what it means to be an exile and of the nature of friendship’ Daily Mail
    • ‘Profound.’ Sinead Gleeson, Irish Times
    • ‘Magnificently lucid.’ Independent
    • ‘A rewarding read, offering us a fresh perspective on Irish society through only partly comprehending immigrant eyes.’ Liam Harte, Irish Times