Kevin Maher The Fields: A Novel

ISBN 13: 9780316223560

The Fields: A Novel

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9780316223560: The Fields: A Novel
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A warm and funny debut about a young man in trouble and a family in love and in pieces. It's the first summer of lust for 14-year-old Jim Finnegan, a boy trying to become a man in 1980s Dublin. Jim's vivid and winning voice leaps off the page and into the reader's heart as he watches his parents argue, his five older sisters fight, and the local network of mothers gossip. Jim hilariously recounts his life dealing with the politics of his boisterous family, taking breakneck bike rides with his best friend, dancing to Foreigner on his boombox, and quietly coveting the local girls from afar.

Over the summer, Jim wins the attention of a beautiful older girl-but he also becomes the unwilling target of a devious religious figure in the community. His life starts to unravel as he faces consequences from both his love for his girlfriend and his attempts to avoid the Parish Priest. When he and his girlfriend take a ferry for a clandestine trip to London, the dark and difficult repercussions from the trip force Jim to look for the solution to all his problems in some very unusual places.

THE FIELDS is an unforgettable story of an extraordinary character. It's a portrait of a boy who sinks into troubles as he grows into a man, and the loving but fractured family that might be his downfall-or his salvation. Lyrical, funny, and endlessly inventive, it is a brilliant debut from a remarkable new voice.

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About the Author:

Kevin Maher was born and raised in South Dublin. He moved to London to begin a career in journalism in 1994. He was Film Editor of the Face for five years, and has written features and film criticism for the Guardian, the Observer, and Time Out. For the last seven years he has been a feature writer, critic, and columnist for The Times. He lives in England with his wife and three children. THE FIELDS is his first novel.

From Booklist:

Set in Dublin in the 1980s, The Fields is the story of young Jim Finnegan’s coming-of-age. Benchmarks of his uneven progress include his serial sexual abuse at the hands of the local parish priest and his falling in love with a beautiful older girl, Saidhbh. A bit improbably (he’s only 14; she’s 17), she returns his affections and in short order becomes pregnant. The two go to London, planning an abortion. But will they follow through, and what will happen to them in the city? Maher’s first novel features a wonderfully sympathetic protagonist and first-person narrator in Jim, while his family—his parents and five older sisters—are equally endearing. The voice and tone are spot on, but after a realistic treatment of the characters and a nicely realized setting, the book takes a very odd turn near the end when Jim discovers New Age thought and practices. Indeed, the ending almost seems to belong to another book but is redeemed by the boy’s rapprochement with his family. Inconsistency aside, The Fields is an often humorous, always diverting exercise that is sure to charm readers. --Michael Cart

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Kevin Maher
Published by Reagan Arthur Books (2013)
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