New books by Edna O’Brien and Neil Jordan, and Kevin Barry takes on John Lennon

Sheila O’Flanagan is to make her YA debut, while Eoin Colfer tackles an adult graphic novel

Edna O’Brien: Faber will publish The Little Red Chairs, her first novel in 10 years, about a wanted war criminal who settles in a small Irish village, next February. “It may be her masterpiece,” claimed Lee Brackstone, the publisher’s creative director. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Edna O’Brien: Faber will publish The Little Red Chairs, her first novel in 10 years, about a wanted war criminal who settles in a small Irish village, next February. “It may be her masterpiece,” claimed Lee Brackstone, the publisher’s creative director. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

 

A first novel in 10 years from 84-year-old author Edna O’Brien, Sheila O’Flanagan’s YA debut, an adult graphic novel co-authored by Eoin Colfer, a new novel by Neil Jordan and details of Kevin Barry’s new novel about John Lennon’s journey to Ireland in 1978 were among the Irish highlights at this week’s London Book Fair.

Faber will publish The Little Red Chairs, O’Brien’s story about a wanted war criminal who settles in a small Irish village, next February. “It may be her masterpiece,” claimed Lee Brackstone, the publisher’s creative director.

“It has been 10 years since the last novel from Edna O’Brien and The Little Red Chairs reminds us why she is recognised as one of the great Irish writers, of any generation,” Blackstone said. “Edna has gone deep into the darkness for this book and she returns with a book of monumental emotional intelligence and courage. The novel burns with a fierce lyricism and dares to suggest there is a way back to redemption and hope when great evil is done. It may be her masterpiece.”

The publisher sets out the plot: “When a wanted war criminal, masquerading as a healer, settles in a small Irish village, the community is in thrall. One woman, Fidelma McBride, falls under his spell. In this searing novel, Edna O’Brien charts the consequence of that fatal attraction. This is a story about love, the artifice of evil and the terrible necessity of accountability in our shattered, damaged world.”

Canongate is to publish Beatlebone by Kevin Barry, a novel about John Lennon’s journey to Ireland in 1978. Catherine Dunne’s No More Tears, about a mother’s love for her child, is with Pan Macmillan.

Bestselling author Sheila O’Flanagan is to make her Young Adult debut with The Crystal Run, which will be published by Hodder Children’s Books. Moving in the opposite direction is Laureate na nOg Eoin Colfer, who reunited with Andrew Donkin for their first original adult graphic novel, Illegal, with art by Giovani Rigano, about two brothers who undertake an epic journey through North Africa and across the Mediterranean in the hope of a better life.

The Death of All Things Seen by Man Booker Prize-shortlisted and criminally under-rated Michael Collins is the story of Helen Price, a woman in her sixties who, suffering from cancer, decides to end her life, and leaves behind a secret with devastating effects, as two sons investigate the affair their parents had.

The Drowned Detective (Bloomsbury) is the new novel by novelist and film director Neil Jordan, which centres on a private detective trying to find a missing girl in an un-named eastern European city, and on his wife as she struggles with the implications of her discoveries on an archaeological dig.

Man Booker Prize-winner John Banville’s new novel The Blue Guitar is about Oliver Orme, a painter who no longer paints, and a thief, who has an affair with Oliver’s wife. Hamish Hamilton is to publish The Mark and the Void by Paul Murray ( Skippy Dies), calling it “perhaps the funniest novel ever written about a financial crisis”.

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