Home Stretch by Graham Norton #BookReview #HodderandStoughton #NetGalley #5*

Graham Norton’s powerful and timely novel of emigration and return demonstrates his keen understanding of the power of stigma and secrecy – with devastating results.

Shame and longing can flow through generations, but the secrets of the heart will not be buried for ever.

It is 1987 and a small Irish community is preparing for a wedding. The day before the ceremony a group of young friends, including bride and groom, drive out to the beach. There is an accident. Three survive, but three are killed.

The lives of the families are shattered and the rifts between them are felt throughout the small town. Connor is one of the survivors. But staying among the angry and the mourning is almost as hard as living with the shame of having been the driver. He leaves the only place he knows for another life, taking his secrets with him. Travelling first to Liverpool, then London, he makes a home – of sorts – for himself in New York. The city provides shelter and possibility for the displaced, somewhere Connor can forget his past and forge a new life.

But the secrets, the unspoken longings and regrets that have come to haunt those left behind will not be silenced. And before long, Connor will have to confront his past.

An Awesome Story, Skilfully Told!

Smart, sophisticated and very satisfying – this is a memorable read!

When a car goes off the road in a small town in Cork, the reverberations have long lasting effects. With three dead, the community make it clear they have no place for young Connor, the driver, among them. So he is packed off to Liverpool, then London, he eventually makes half a life for himself in New York, but always wonders about those he left behind, whilst his family mourn the loss of a son and a brother. But things are never are clear-cut as the first appear, and there are secrets which have been buried – but for how long?

In his latest novel, Graham Norton has really brought his writing talents to the fore and shows himself to be a skilled and talented author. Adroitly planned, the secrets are well hidden and revealed in a timely manner. This is such a compelling story, demanding the reader’s full attention from the very first and entertaining all the way through. A tale of a changing Ireland, beautifully told and completely original; the kind of book I particularly love as I could finish reading with a sigh of total satisfaction. Such an inspiring and multi-layered novel demands no less than the full five sparkling stars which I’m delighted to give it, along with my highest recommendation to all those who love an absorbing story.

My thanks to publisher for my copy via NetGalley; this is – as always – my honest, original and unbiased review.

Tags: Irish fiction

Author Bio

Graham Norton is one of the UK’s best loved broadcasters. He presents The Graham Norton Show on BBC1, has a weekly show on BBC Radio 2, and writes a column for the Telegraph. He is the winner of eight BAFTA awards. Born in Dublin and raised in West Cork, Norton now lives in London.

His debut novel HOLDING was a commercial and critical success, winning Norton the Irish Independent Popular Fiction award at the Bord Gáis Irish Book Awards in 2016.

Social Media

Twitter: @grahnort

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