Nominated by:

Galway Public Libraries, Ireland

Dublin City Public Libraries, Ireland

Publisher of nominated edition:



Alan McMonagle      

Ithaca, the ferociously funny and unbelievably poignant debut novel from Alan McMonagle, combines a fiercely emotional story with crackling prose.

This was the summer after all the money disappeared. One minute it was here. The next it had vanished. All of it. Without trace . . . Now that all the money had vanished everyone had their eyes and ears ready for all manner of doom. Summer 2009, and eleven-year-old Jason Lowry is preoccupied with thoughts of the Da he has never known. In the meantime, his vodka-swilling, swings-from-the-hip Ma is busy entertaining her latest boyfriend and indulging her fondness for joyriding. Jason escapes to the Swamp: a mysteriously rising pool of fetid water on the outskirts of the town. There, he meets the girl, a being as lost as himself, and with even less regard for reality. Together, they conjure exotic adventures – from ancient Egypt to the search for Ithaca, home of Odysseus.

But what begin as innocent flights of fancy soon become forays into hazardous territory; the girl is a dangerous (and very committed) partner in crime.

About the author

Alan McMonagle has written for radio, published two collections of short stories – both of which were nominated for the Frank O’Connor Award – and contributed stories to many journals in Ireland and North America. He lives in Galway.

(from publisher)

Librarian’s comments

Ithaca is a post – Celtic-Tiger odyssey / coming of age tale set in a fictional midlands town. The protagonist is a young boy with a troubled mother and a lonely existence. He longs to find out the identity of his father and falls under the spell of a mysterious young girl. The book is very well written in a crisp style and is brimming with pathos and longing.


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