Anakana Schofield – Author of Martin John and Malarky

Lovely reviews for Malarky in Financial Times / CARA (Aer Lingus inflight mag)/ Hot Press

A short review in The Financial Times for Malarky but short can be beautiful, concise and warm. David Evans said of Our Woman “She speaks like a modern Molly Bloom, her voice both lavish and earthy. She is warm, witty company.” and described the sections narrated by her as “beautifully done”. 

 

CARA Magazine (Aer Lingus inflight publication) included Malarky in their Best new Irish debuts  ” Constant shifts in time, location and voice keep this lively and unexpected. Assured, humorous and a surprising debut.” I truly appreciate readers that are willing to engage with the form of Malarky and what it interrogates (the experience of grief and the fluidity of sexuality) rather than remain outside the gate insisting it be what we already know the novel can be. (linear and formally less interrogative).

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Hot Press ran a review of Malarky recently:

Here’s the text. Thanks immensely to Anne Sexton, the reviewer.

“You know you’re far from Maeve Binchy when a book opens with an Irish mammy telling her grief therapist that she is plagued by visions of homosexual orgies. Anakana Schofield’s Malarky is a wonderful, inventive darkly comic novel about a woman on the edge. Written as twenty feverish episodes, Malarky is the story of ‘Our Woman’, a farmer’s wife from Mayo. Her husband is three days dead when the novel opens and Our Woman confesses these intrusive thoughts to her counsellor, who recommends scrubbing the floor vigorously for distraction. Before his untimely demise Himself may have had a fancy woman in Ballina and her son has certainly being getting up to no good with a neighbour’s boy, so Our Woman sets out to learn more about these sexual shenanigans herself. Malarky is written in gorgeous technicolour prose and is in turns laugh out loud funny and deeply moving. Highly recommended.”

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I have been so touched by the response in Ireland and the UK to Malarky. Immensely grateful as I was intrepid and irrationally anxious about how the novel would be taken on home soil … I do apologize to my mother for some of the more challenging content in it, but she’s been very supportive and loves the book.  As I said on RTE Arena, if a daughter of mine wrote a book like this, I’d probably disown her. That said I don’t have a daughter, I have a son, who provides a non-stop scathing critique on my work so we’re all balanced out. I am lucky to come from a long line of hardy-legged short farming women, all with very keen sense of humour. I do think there’s a great streak of humour in the West and Ireland generally that I miss in my daily interactions here sometimes. Humour is how people carry on, it’s how the poor survive what they survive. Anyway enough of my gabble.

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Finally so desperately sad to hear about Gerry McCann. I so admired his partner Andrea (?) talking on the radio on Monday and how he’d reached out and gone to seek help in hospital. It is so difficult to deal with crippling anxiety and depression. We’ve got to do better with mental health support. I wish governments would redirect military financing towards mental health funding and that we could have a model that begins to alleviate some of this arresting distress on individuals and their families. My heart goes out to his family. We must do better for people with mental health crisis. Something has to shift on a daily basis, rather than a crisis basis because these are ongoing struggles. They aren’t remediated by 2 days and an injection. I also salute the people who are working hard on the ground and advocating in this area.

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