by Magee, Michael | Northern Ireland
Published 06/04/2023 by Penguin Books Ltd (Hamish Hamilton Ltd) in the United Kingdom
Hardback | 288 pages
Luminous and devastating, a portrait of modern masculinity as shaped by class, by trauma, and by silence, but also by the courage to love and to surviveSean’s brother Anthony is a hard man. When they were kids their ma did her best to keep him out of trouble but you can’t say anything to Anto. Sean was supposed to be different.
He was supposed to leave and never come back. But Sean does come back. Arriving home after university, he finds Anthony’s drinking is worse than ever.
Meanwhile the jobs in Belfast have vanished, Sean’s degree isn’t worth the paper it’s written on and no one will give him the time of day. One night he loses control and assaults a stranger at a party, and everything is tipped into chaos. Close to Home witnesses the aftermath of that night, as Sean attempts to make sense of who he has become, and to reckon with the relationships that have shaped him, for better and worse.
Drawing from his own experiences, Michael Magee examines the forces which keep young working class men in harm’s way, in a debut novel which shines with intelligence and humanity on every page. Close to Home is an extraordinary work of fiction about deciding what kind of a man you want to be and finding your place in the scarred city you call home.