Carmel Mc Mahon In Ordinary Time: Fragments of a Family History


Code 9780715655184
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In 1993, aged twenty, Carmel Mc Mahon left Ireland for New York, carrying two suitcases and a ton of unseen baggage. It took years, and a bitter struggle with alcohol addiction, to unpick the intricate traumas of her past and present.

Candid yet lyrical, In Ordinary Time mines the ways that trauma reverberates through time and through individual lives, drawing connections to the events and rhythms of Ireland's long Celtic, early Christian and Catholic history.

From tragically lost siblings to the broader social scars of the Famine and the Magdalene Laundries, Mc Mahon sketches the evolution of a consciousness - from her conservative 1970s upbringing to 1990s New York, and back to the much-changed Ireland of today.

About the Author

Carmel Mc Mahon grew up in County Meath, and lived in New York City 1993-2021, when she returned to Ireland's west coast. A graduate of CUNY, her writing has been published in the Irish Times and shortlisted for the Hennessy Literary Award.

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'Mc Mahon's personal story is the unifying strand in a bigger, constantly shifting narrative that explores complex cultural and historical terrain'
- Sean O'Hagan, Observer

'Absolutely gripping... in lucid prose that is both direct and lyrical, she burrows through layers of family history and Irish history'
- Irish Times

'A vivid, evocative and resonant counterpoint of time, memory and meaning'
- Joseph O'Connor, award-winning author of Shadowplay

'A beautiful memoir'
- Ryan Tubridy, RTÉ Radio 1

'A raw, urgent book, its narrative stretched across the year, from Imbolc (the Feast of St Brigid) to Samhain, as it traces love, loss and all else. An extraordinary debut already being likened to Doireann Ní Ghríofa's A Ghost in the Throat but this is shaped by its own hauntings'

'Stunning. A work of great emotional and intellectual heft... Truth and honesty shine out of every line'
- Mary Costello, author of Academy Street

'Provocative yet dazzling... A mesmerising work threaded with rich veins of history and heart'
- Sophie White, Irish Independent

'Beautiful, compelling, thought-provoking... An uncompromising reflection on what it means to be of Irish heritage today, whether at home or abroad'
- Tara Flynn

'Painfully familiar in its account of family loss and trauma in the urban working class, and personal enough never to feel like a survey or aerial view of Irish women's history. Sensitively written and quietly devastating, it's the book I had been waiting for'
- Niamh Campbell, award-winning author of This Happy


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