Wednesday 9 May 2018

Grace After Henry by Eithne Shortall @EithneShortall Blog Tour #MyLifeInBooks @CorvusBooks

Grace sees her boyfriend Henry everywhere. In the supermarket, on the street, at the graveyard. 

Only Henry is dead. He died two months earlier, leaving a huge hole in Grace's life and in her heart. But then Henry turns up to fix the boiler one evening, and Grace can't decide if she's hallucinating or has suddenly developed psychic powers. Grace isn't going mad - the man in front of her is not Henry at all, but someone else who looks uncannily like him. The hole in Grace's heart grows ever larger. 

Grace becomes captivated by this stranger, Andy - to her, he is Henry, and yet he is not. Reminded of everything she once had, can Grace recreate that lost love with Andy, resurrecting Henry in the process, or does loving Andy mean letting go of Henry?

Grace After Henry by Eithne Shortall was published on 3 May 2018 by Corvus Books / Atlantic. As part of the Blog Tour, I'm delighted to welcome the author here today, she's talking about the books that are special to her in My Life In Books.

My Life In Books - Eithne Shortall

The Secret History by Donna Tartt: When I set out to write my first novel, I was between two ideas. The first was the one that became Love In Row 27; but the second was closer to this masterpiece - or at least, that was the plan. I love this book more than I can say. It's perfect. It's smart and gripping and so, so satisfying.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling: JK Rowling is a genius as far as I am concerned. She is on a par with the Romans in terms of building a civilisation. For all the years she produced them, I lived for the Harry Potter books. I read the first three books four times, book four three times, book five twice, and the last two once. The third instalment is my favourite, largely for my undying love of Sirius Black.

Ghosts by John Banville: Alongside the two novels above, this completes my answer to the "top three books" question. In my early twenties, John Banville was my favourite author. I don't have a favourite now. I think Banville turns poetry into prose. I love a lot of his books - Book of Evidence, The Sea, Ancient Light - but this one is my favourite because it challenged and rewarded me at the same time. There are a lot of Beckett references, which I also enjoyed. I was all about Irish modernism in my high-brow youth! 

The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me by Roald Dahl: I have a signed copy of this book and, when asked, I name it as my most treasured possession. Roald Dahl came to Galway in the west of Ireland when I was four and my Dad, who was there on business, got him to sign it for me. It says "To Eithne" and everything. How cool is that?

A Christmas Carol by Charles DickensFor years, I reread this every Christmas. It's not very long and it makes me so happy. Dickens is such a wit. I love Scrooge. His sharp tongue, his perfect transformative narrative arc, all of it. A Christmas Carol also plays a role in Grace After Henry because it is the book Grace and Henry are reading together when he dies. There is a simple pleasure in being read to as an adult. 

Now We Are Six by AA Milne: I have a collection of four Winnie the Pooh books and I continue to reread them. There is such beauty in their simplicity and such wisdom in Pooh. I picked this one, but really it could have been any of them.

Rachel's Holiday by Marian Keyes: This book blew me away, and is a great example of a cover (or at least on the copy I have) not doing justice to the book. Marian Keyes is one of our most skilled writers and this book is just exceptional. It made me stop and think about my own addictive habits. And it is just so damn funny.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty: I only read this in January and I couldn't get over how good it was. There are all these strands blowing independently in the wind and then suddenly they are knotted together. Magic. I have now decided that, when I grow up, I want to be Liane Moriarty. 

Eithne Shortall - May 2018 

Eithne Shortall is an author and journalist. Her debut novel, Love in Row 27, was published in June 2017. Her second novel, Grace after Henry, will be published in the UK and Ireland in May 2018 and in the United States in early 2019. She is the chief arts writer with the Irish edition of the SundayTimes newspaper and a regular contributor to RTE Radio.
Love in Row 27 has been sold into 11 territories and nine languages, while Grace after Henry was acquired by Putnam, an imprint of Penguin, in the US in a headline-grabbing deal. NBC Universal has optioned Love in Row 27 for a TV series.

For more information visit:
Follow her on Twitter @EithneShortall

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