We first meet the Goold Verschoyle children in 1915. Though there is a war going on in the world outside, they seem hardly touched by it – midnight swims, flower fairies and regatta parties form the backdrop to their enchanted childhood. But as they grow older, changes within Ireland and the wider world encroach upon the family’s private paradise. Turbulent times – the Irish war of independence, the Spanish Civil War, and World War II – are woven into the tapestry upon which this magical story is spun. Events in Spain, Russia and London draw the children in different directions: one travels to Moscow to witness Communism at first had; another runs away to England to take part in the General Strike and then heads off to the Civil War in Spain; another follows the more conventional route of marriage and family. Based upon the extraordinary lives of a real-life Anglo-Irish family, Bolger’s novel superbly recreates a family in flux, driven by idealism, wracked by argument and united by love and the vivid memories of childhood. ‘The Family on Paradise Pier’ shows Bolger at the height of his powers as a master storyteller. A spellbinding and magnificent achievement.
Reviews of The Family on Paradise Pier
‘Dermot Bolger’s vision is ragingly incandescent. He has been described as Dublin’s Pasolini, and truly his work exerts a cinematic grip. Bolger is to contemporary Dublin what Dickens was to Victorian London: archivist, reporter, sometimes infuriated lover. Certainly, no understanding of Ireland’s capital at the close of the 20th-century is complete without an acquaintance with his magnificent writing.’ Joseph O’Connor
‘Joyce, O’Flaherty, Brian Moore, a fistful of O’Briens, this is a succulent Who’s Who of Irish writing, and Dermot Bolger is of the same ilk. An exceptional literary gift.’ Independent
‘Bolger’s writing is so strong, so exact, so much the right colour for each moment. Bare and passionate.’ Financial Times
‘A strong contender for the crown of Ireland’s finest novelist.’ Daily Mail
‘Bolger is a lively writer. He is a bold storyteller and this bold endeavour, while flawed, is certainly never boring.’ Lucy Atkins, Sunday Times
‘Bolger has never written better. His has never been an imagination that works well in a vacuum, but the richness of Sheila Fitzgerald’s experience and the obvious warmth that developed between them adds a special dimension to this remarkable book.’Scottish Sunday Herald