The astonishing debut memoir about mothers and daughters, drinking, birth and loss, running away and homecoming from prize-winning writer and broadcaster Noelle McCarthy.
I’ll be grand, girl, I’ve great faith. – Mammy, just before she died
Funny, charismatic and generous; angry, vicious and hurt; in pub lounges all over Cork City, Noelle McCarthy’s mother Carol rages against her life and everything she’s lost.
As soon as she can, Noelle runs away. All the way to New Zealand, to make a new, different kind of life. But then Mammy gets sick, and it’s time to face everything that’s waiting back home.
From Catholic Ireland in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s to sparkling Auckland in the first years of the new millennium, Grand is a story of the invisible ties that bind us, of bitter legacies handed down through the generations, and of the leap of faith it takes to change them.
Imprint: Penguin Books NZ
Publication date: 29/03/2022
by Noelle McCarthy
Review by Harriet
Brave, brutal, hilarious and heartbreaking. Noelle McCarthy’s memoir follows her relationship with her mother Carol: from her childhood in 1980s Ireland, to the life Noelle has made for herself in New Zealand, and her eventual return to Ireland when Carol becomes ill. With unflinching honesty and intensity, Noelle confronts the ways in which alcohol and unspoken generational hurt haunt their relationship, and the compassion and strength it takes to prevent these forces from engulfing it entirely.
It could all easily become overwhelmingly chaotic and sad - there are certainly bleak moments and tender depictions of clumsy human love that make your chest sore - but the writing has such an irresistible lightness and vitality that, coupled with the family knack for dialogue and rhythm, you find yourself laugh-snorting through the tears. I know I’ll read this again and again, it’s crackling with life!