Big girl, small town

Michelle Gallen

£8.99

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John Murray
18 February 2021
ISBN: 9781529304220
Paperback

From the publisher

SHORTLISTED FOR THE COSTA FIRST NOVEL AWARD

SHORTLISTED FOR THE IRISH BOOK AWARDS NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR

SHORTLISTED FOR THE COMEDY WOMEN IN PRINT PRIZE

LONGLISTED FOR THE ONDAATJE PRIZE

'Milkman meets Derry Girls. A cracking read' Sinead Moriarty

'A thrillingly fresh, provocative and touching voice' Marian Keyes

'Bawdy yet beautiful, full of everyday tragedy, absurdity and truth. I grew extraordinarily attached to Majella' Sara Baume

Routine makes Majella's world small but change is about to make it a whole lot bigger.

*Stuff Majella knows*
-God doesn't punish men with baldness for wearing ladies' knickers
-Banana-flavoured condoms taste the same as nutrition shakes
-Not everyone gets a volley of gunshots over their grave as they are being lowered into the ground

*Stuff Majella doesn't know*
-That she is autistic
-Why her ma drinks
-Where her da is

Other people find Majella odd. She keeps herself to herself, she doesn't like gossip and she isn't interested in knowing her neighbours' business. But suddenly everyone in the small town in Northern Ireland where she grew up wants to know all about hers.

Since her da disappeared during the Troubles, Majella has tried to live a quiet life with her alcoholic mother. She works in the local chip shop (Monday-Saturday, Sunday off), wears the same clothes every day (overalls, too small), has the same dinner each night (fish and chips, nuked in the microwave) and binge watches Dallas (the best show ever aired on TV) from the safety of her single bed. She has no friends and no boyfriend and Majella thinks things are better that way.

But Majella's safe and predictable existence is shattered when her grandmother dies and as much as she wants things to go back to normal, Majella comes to realise that maybe there is more to life. And it might just be that from tragedy comes Majella's one chance at escape.

'It's a smasher' Kathy Burke