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Alice Falling by William Wall
Published by Sceptre, 2000

Alice Lynch appears to have everything - brains, beauty and wealth - yet she harbours a barely concealed hatred of her husband. What the student she dallies with doesn't understand is why she doesn't leave him. Alice, haunted by the ghosts of her rural Irish childhood, knows it's not that simple, but that she has to find a way out. In this powerful and hypnotic tale, William Wall traces the corrosive effect of a dark secret on a group of friends and lovers, and illuminates a shocking aspect of life in Ireland's recent past.

'This is the first novel by an extensively published and award-winning poet and short-story writer. This is not just another journey into idle, well-heeled, suburban adultery. It grapples head-on with the noxious underbelly of hurt, pain, anger, greed and hate which persists beneath respectable facades. Although not very plot-driven, the book does reach a devastating conclusion. Even the by now stock character of the abusive priest is excellently executed, his remembered wheedling in Alice's mind hitting home. If, as William Gass wrote in his introduction to William Gaddis' The Recognitions, the business of the novelist is 'seeing through', then William Wall has done his job effectively here. It is a story of the disaffection which sets in, after whatever idealism there may have been throughout late adolescent college years, in the search for emotional and financial security. It is populated by manipulators and the maipulated, exploiters and the exploited, abusers and the abused. But the roles are interchangeable, as victims become abusers, and abuser victims.
This is an important debut novel, by someone who could well go on to become an important novelist. It may not have the promotional budget of some more high profile recently published Irish novels, but that should not deter you from seeking it out and reading it.' Books Ireland

'Instantly gripping… a brutal, brilliantly written, deeply unsettling novel'
Sunday Business Post

'While this book is certainly disturbing, it never seems bleak or oppressive. This is largely due to Wall's poetic handling of words, which suffuses the book with a lyrical rhythm, while at the same time he manages not to slip into lush romanticism' Time Out

'An intelligent and well-crafted book…. The haunting eloquence of Wall's prose makes it an evocative and compelling read' Irish News

'Dark, visceral and unflinching… Wall's uncluttered sentences are delicate and detailed, and his night-time landscapes are softly evocative of small-town Ireland' The Times

'The sort of book that renews your faith in Irish fiction … a deeply affecting novel' Books Ireland

Also by the same author:
Minding Children

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