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That They May Face the Rising Sun by John McGahern
Published by
Faber & Faber, 2002

This, McGahern's first novel for twelve years, takes readers through a year in the life of a close-knit community centred around a lake in rural Ireland. The many memorable characters include John and Kate Ruttledge who have come to Ireland from London in search of a different life; John Quinn, who will stop at nothing to ensure a flow of women; Johnny, who left for England twenty years before in pursuit of love; and Jimmy Joe McKiernan, head of the IRA , both auctioneer and undertaker. There is gentle Jamesie and his wife Mary who embody the spirit of the place, having never left the lake but know everything that ever stirred or moved there. In passages of beauty and truth, the drama of a year in the lives of these characters unfolds through the actions, the rituals of work, religious observances and play. By the novel's close we feel that we have been introduced , with deceptive simplicity, to a complete representation of existence - an enclosed world has been transformed into an Everywhere.

'Perhaps the first thing to say is that very little happens; and yet, everything happens. There is little conventional plot or character development, but stories get told, characters are delineated. The rhythm of the prose takes its beat from the natural world, the changing seasons around a lake in an unspecified border county, sometime in the late eighties or early nineties….Masterpieces do not come along every year, or even every decade. But it is not besmirching through exaggeration that overused and so degraded term to apply it here. I bow, awestruck, before such an achievement' Des Traynor Books Ireland Feb 2002

'This novel is his first for twelve years and is possibly the finest he has yet published. It deserves to extend his reputation as one of Ireland's finest writers.' The Good Book Guide'

'I said that there was no finer writer in English today than McGahern' Independent on Sunday

John McGahern was born in Dublin and raised in County Leitrim, where he now lives.

By the same author:
The Barracks
The Dark
The Leavetaking
Getting Through
The Pornographer
High Ground
Amongst Women
The Collected Stories

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