Solar Bones

Mike McCormack

ISBN: 9781616958534

Published: September, 2017


Paperback $15.00

More books by Mike McCormack

Mike McCormack

Galway, Ireland

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Winner of the 2018 International Dublin Literary Award.

Solar Bones is a masterwork that builds its own style and language one broken line at a time; the result is a visionary accounting of the now.

A vital, tender, death-haunted work by one of Ireland’s most important con...

Winner of the 2018 International Dublin Literary Award.

Solar Bones is a masterwork that builds its own style and language one broken line at a time; the result is a visionary accounting of the now.

A vital, tender, death-haunted work by one of Ireland’s most important contemporary writers, Solar Bones is a celebration of the unexpected beauty of life and of language, and our inescapable nearness to our last end. It is All Souls Day, and the spirit of Marcus Conway sits at his kitchen table and remembers. In flowing, relentless prose, Conway recalls his life in rural Ireland: as a boy and man, father, husband, citizen. His ruminations move from childhood memories of his father’s deftness with machines to his own work as a civil engineer, from transformations in the local economy to the tidal wave of global financial collapse. Conway’s thoughts go still further, outward to the vast systems of time and history that hold us all. He stares down through the “vortex of his being,” surveying all the linked circumstances that combined to bring him into this single moment, and he makes us feel, if only for an instant, all the terror and gratitude that existence inspires.

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“​An NPR Best Book of 2017.​”
“Longlisted for the 2017 Man Booker Prize.”
“With stylistic gusto, and in rare, spare, precise and poetic prose, Mike McCormack gets to the music of what is happening all around us. One of the best novels of the year.”
—Colum McCann, author of Let the Great World Spin and TransAtlantic
“​A Times (UK) Best Book of 2017. ”
“Pure enchantment from an otherworldly talent. I admired the hell out of this book.”
—Eleanor Catton, Man Booker Prize-winning author of The Luminaries
“Winner of the Goldsmiths Prize. ”
“Winner of the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards Novel of the Year.”
“An Irish Times Book Club Choice.”
“Excellence is always rare and often unexpected: we don’t necessarily expect masterpieces even from the great. Mike McCormack’s Solar Bones is exceptional indeed: an extraordinary novel by a writer not yet famous but surely destined to be acclaimed by anyone who believes that the novel is not dead and that novelists are not merely lit-fest fodder for the metropolitan middle classes.”
—The Guardian
“Hauntingly sad, but also frequently very funny . . . Proust reconfigured by Flann O’Brien.”
—The Literary Review
“As in Don DeLillo’s White Noise, it is the numinous, otherworldly qualities of modern life, rather than some fantastical future, that we are concerned with here . . . The work of an author in the full maturity of his talent, Solar Bones climaxes in a passage of savage, Gnostic religiosity: the writing catches fire as we draw near to the void, pass over into death itself, and therein confront the truth that even in a fallen universe, when all distractions tumble away, the only adequate response to our being is astonishment.”
—The Irish Times
“McCormack is one of our bravest and most innovative writers—he shoots for the stars with this one and does not fall short.”
—Kevin Barry, author of Beatlebone
“In radiant, exquisite prose, Mike McCormack dilates time, erasing the line between the external, concrete world and the interior world of thought and feeling, memory and soul. Solar Bones is a deeply affecting, mesmerizing and quietly astonishing novel.”
–Dana Spiotta, author of Innocents and Others
“One of the finest novels I’ve read in some time. Mike McCormack has long been a powerhouse on the Irish literary map, beloved by readers in the know, but with Solar Bones he has taken things to another level; the rendering of life and death is beautiful, generous and true, the language and its handling is marvelous and new, the reckoning with power and its cruelties is exactly as frank and relentless as such a reckoning needs, now, to be. A pure and genuinely inspired vision; a brilliant mind charging on.”
—Belinda McKeon, author of Tender
Solar Bones is like nothing I've read, an experimental novel about love, engineering, and contaminated water that hits all three of its targets: heart, head, and guts. This book gushes blood, and McCormick's wondrous feat is to chart its movements with an engineer's precision and a poet's ear. Solar Bones will draw comparisons to Ulysses, and certainly its fluid stream-of-conscious would do Joyce proud, but I was also reminded of another Irish novel, Roddy Doyle's The Committments—or, at least, the soundtrack to its film adaptation—with its heavy concentration of blue-eyed soul. This is a rare and beautiful novel, and one I won't soon forget.”
—Adam Wilson, author of Flatscreen
“A masterpiece.”
—Blake Morrison, author of And When Did You Last See Your Father?
Solar Bones is one of those books that comes around once every few years and kicks the crap out of you. Mike McCormack creates a terrifyingly real and startling world through the eyes of the late Marcus Conway, a civil engineer who reflects upon his life in one long transcendent, stream-of-conscious narrative. Memories bleed into one another, as the ghost of a man sits at his kitchen table and recalls event after event, which tip into one another satisfyingly, until we're left with a portrait of a man situated in the twenty-first century, where global catastrophes and politics threaten and impact our sometimes isolate bubbles of everyday life. Almost Knausgaardian in spirit, this novel celebrates and honors the working man's life—failures, successes, and all the idleness and fate sandwiched in between.”
—John Gibbs, Green Apple Books on the Park
“Mike McCormack's Solar Bones, with its one calmly unspooling sentence, hearkens back to the great modernist novels, but also moves forward from the present with all the urgency and anxiety of our fraught new century. This is the kind of novel a reader yearns for, one that illuminates what it means to be here now. It's nothing short of a masterpiece.”
–Stephen Sparks, Point Reyes Books
“McCormack’s novel is oddly gripping. . . it​’s immensely touching too.​ ​McCormack will make you see things afresh.”
​​—​The Sunday Times (UK)​
“Clearly a major work. . . ​​​Solar Bones is a modernist stream-of-consciousness novel à la James Joyce. ​C​arefully and cleverly crafted​. . . ​​​Solar Bones is a must-read.​ A​ fascinating, surprisingly readable tour de force of a book.​”
—Winnipeg Free Press​
“A Chicago Public Library Best Book of 2017.”