Any new novel by Jennifer Johnston is a literary event, and A SIXPENNY SONG is a brief masterpiece: acerbic, lyrical, witty and heartbreaking.
From Costa prizewinning and Booker-shortlisted Jennifer Johnston comes a beautifully crafted, alluring tale of family and secrets.
Not every death is a tragedy. Not every silver lining is intact.
Annie's father is dead. She isn't sorry. A rich and domineering man, he was always more passionate about money than the happiness of his wife and child. And when his lovely, fragile wife Jude died in mysterious circumstances when Annie was still very young, her father sent her to school in England, and tried to ensure that Jude was never mentioned again.
Now, at last, his days of tyranny are over. And so Annie leaves London and goes back to Dublin, to the house in which he lived and her mother died, where she makes the first of several startling discoveries: he has left her the house she hated. Now, just when she thought she was free of him, she is expected to make a new life in Ireland, and live as he would have wished. Does she dare to defy him one more time? And who will be able to tell her the truth about her mother's life, and death, before she has to decide?
'[Johnston's] novels display a surface smallness that belies their immense depths. She is a storyteller of truth and its consequences, and her books are deep and worthwhile considerations of the human condition... A Sixpenny Song is a truly moving novel evidencing beyond all reasonable doubt, if any such proof were required, not only that the fire has yet to burn out but that Miss Johnston, at 83 years old, remains at the very top of her game' - Irish Examiner
Johnston is noted for her brevity, the pared-back quality of her writing - Irish Times
'The Costa prizewinner and Booker-shortlisted Johnston knows how to tell a story succinctly...[she writes with] the deceptive ease of a skilled craftswoman...further proof of her skill as a writer' - Irish Independent
'[A] beautifully written novella... so well-written, so deeply imagined, that the reader will find delight even in the encircling gloom' - Scotsman
Alluring and powerful - The Press Association
PRAISE FOR JENNIFER JOHNSTON: Masterly...her books bring to mind other Irish craftsmen such as William Trevor and the late Josephine Hart - Daily Express
A brilliant storyteller - Literary Review
Roddy Doyle called Johnston the best writer in Ireland. Mesmerising, powerful fiction - Red
Jennifer Johnston is one of the foremost Irish writers of her, or any, generation. She has won the Whitbread Prize (THE OLD JEST), the Evening Standard Best First Novel Award (for THE CAPTAINS AND THE KINGS), the Yorkshire Post Award, Best Book of the Year (twice, for THE CAPTAINS AND THE KINGS and HOW MANY MILES TO BABYLON?). She was also shortlisted for the Booker Prize with SHADOWS ON OUR SKIN.