A heartbreakingly brilliant novel by one of Ireland's greatest living writers
Mr Prendergast, an elderly Anglo-Irishman, is living out his last years in the decaying splendour of his family mansion. As his mind wanders through the gloom he finds it peopled with memories of his neglected wife, his pale shadow of a father, his icily glamorous mother and Alexander, the son she so jealously loved, killed in the First World War.
With only his ill-tempered alcoholic gardener left to attend to him, Mr Prendergast is content to pass his days in such ghostly company. Until young Diarmid arrives, keen-eyed and carrot-haired, to disperse the gathering darkness with curiosity, and the promise of friendship.
Jennifer Johnston has written a beauty...full of sharp truth - Daily Telegraph
Elegantly written... it is a tragic story with a merciful ending... Jennifer Johnston knows her Ireland as well as she knows human nature - Irish Times
I greatly enjoyed and admired The Captains and the Kings - Observer
Assured and skilful - The Sunday Times
Formidably well done - Guardian
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.