A lyrical, heart-rending novel that explores the boundaries of love in the face of a tragic inheritance
Joe Lyons has never had much success with relationships until he meets Suzie, a young music teacher. Living a solitary existence as a writer, he's alienated his mother with his autobiographical first novel and has little to say to his stridently religious sister, Mary. Only his father keeps in regular touch. But now, in the warmth of this new love, the happy endings finally seem to outnumber the tragedies. So when news comes that his mother is seriously ill, he returns home, but what he finds there shocks him out of his complacency and Joe, like his father, comes to understand the true nature of love.
The novel works on many levels. As an examination of the tangled skeins of family allegiance, it is clear-headed to the point of ruthlessness. In its dissection of a fatal illness, it is both rigorous and humane. But it is the power and subtlety of the writing which sets The Map of Tenderness apart ...With a few deft strokes, he can paint a picture of heart-stopping vividness - Arminta Wallace, Irish Times
A dark and sensuous stylist ... He really is shaping up to be among the very best of the almost overabundant crop of Irish literary production during the last decade. - Desmond Traynor, Irish Independent
Eloquent and haunting - Doug Johnstone, List
Engages richly and rather profoundly with love, death and life. - James Smart, Sunday Herald
A moving portrait of a family, of discovery, and having the courage to believe in other people. - Anne-Marie Flanagan, Irish World
Moving [and] lyrical - Sunday Independent
"The Map of Tenderness is a captivating story...the author is an irish poet and it shows in his beautiful prose. It wraps you up as gently as a snowdrift." - Michael Dobbs, author of Winston's War
William Wall's four novels, ALICE FALLING, MINDING CHILDREN, THE MAP OF TENDERNESS and THIS IS THE COUNTRY, have all been published to critical acclaim. He is also an award winning poet and short story writer, and the author of several works of fiction for children. His work has appeared in The Irish Times, New Irish Writing and has been broadcast on radio on RTE. He is married with two children and lives in County Cork, Ireland.