Academy Street by Mary Costello

bookshelves: under-50-ratings, published-2014, radio-4, fradio, winter-20142015, shortstory-shortstories-novellas

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: Laura
Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from December 03 to 19, 2014

Description: A finely wrought and lyrical novel that recounts the life-span of a quiet and shy woman, Tess Lohan; from her childhood in 1940s rural Ireland, her emigration to New York in the early 1960s, becoming a single mother and raising her son in the 1970s and 1980s, right through to the present day.

Short-listed on publication for the Irish Book Awards, this beautifully evoked novel opens with Tess aged seven, trying to understand and come to terms with her mother’s death.

Mary Costello grew up in County Galway. Her collection of short stories, The China Factory, was nominated for the Guardian First Book Award. Academy Street is her debut novel, about which J M Coetzee wrote: “With extraordinary devotion, Costello brings to life a woman who would otherwise have faded into oblivion.”

1/10 Seven-year-old Tess tries to come to come to terms with her mother’s death.

2/10 Seven-year-old Tess flounders in the aftermath of her mother’s death.

3/10 Life continues for the Lohans, as Tess goes away to boarding school.

4/10 Tess leaves Ireland to follow her beloved sister Claire to New York.

5/10 The meeting with David has a profound effect upon the shy and reticent Tess.

6/10 Tess is left reeling in the aftermath of her brief affair with David.

7/10 Resolute in her decision to raise her son alone, Tess vows never to explain herself again.

8/10 Theo, now aged 14, has some tough questions for Tess.

9/10 Close to retirement, Tess enjoys a new-found contentment – until fate intervenes.

10/10 Carrying the sorrow of her loss, Tess returns to Ireland for the first time in 40 years.

Read by Niamh Cusack
Written by Mary Costello
Abridged by Kirsteen Cameron
Produced by Kirsteen Cameron.


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