THE BUTCHERS BLESSING
Atlantic Books · Hardback · Fiction
26 March 2020 · £14.99
The US publisher is Tin House and publication is 10 November under a different title - The Butchers’ Blessing.
‘I found The Butchers haunting and compelling. The relationships between daughter, mother and landscape move in strange harmony with a story about Irish modernity and masculinity.’
A photograph is hung on a gallery wall for the very first time since it was taken two decades before. It shows a slaughter house in rural Ireland, a painting of the Virgin Mary on the wall, a meat hook suspended from the ceiling - and, from its sharp point, the lifeless body of a man hanging by his feet.
The story of who he is and how he got there casts back into Irish folklore, of widows cursing the land and of the men who slaughter its cattle by hand. But modern Ireland is distrustful of ancient traditions, and as the BSE crisis unfolds, few care about The Butchers – the eight men who roam the country, slaughtering the cows of those who still have faith in the old ways. Few care, that is, except for Fionn, the husband of a dying woman who still believes; their son Davey, who has fallen in love with the youngest of the Butchers; Grá, the lonely wife of one of the eight; and her 12-year-old daughter, Úna, a girl who will grow up to carry a knife like her father, and who will be the one finally to avenge the man in the photograph.
Buy USA Book Here!
Buy Book in Ireland Here!
About Ruth Gilligan
Ruth Gilligan is an Irish novelist and journalist and lectures at the University of Birmingham. She has written four novels, including the Irish bestsellers Forget and Nine Folds Make a Paper Swan. (Atlantic Books 2016). She writes and reviews for the Irish Times, the Irish Independent, the TLS and the Guardian.
Praise for THE BUTCHERS
‘Exhilarating… I was hooked from the first page.’
‘The Butchers by Ruth Gilligan is a funny, sad, beautiful book that asks how you make a new life when your world changes. So much is packed into these pages about family, about greed, about love, and about desperation. Oh and it has the perfect ending’’
Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, author of Harmless Like You
‘This is a remarkable novel. The story is utterly compelling and the characters so well-drawn I found myself reading faster and faster as the plot progressed. Gilligan paints a disturbing portrait of rural Ireland which is both modern and ancient, firmly grounded in the realistic and hauntingly otherworldly.’
Jan Carson, author of The Fire Starters
‘Flawlessly, intricately plotted, but with such a compelling central mystery that I binged it like a Netflix show... The Butchers is deeply humane and astute on why we might take even the worst options available to us, at times deeply poignant and genuinely moving. It's stunning.’
Luke Kennard, author of The Transition
‘Immersive…Gilligan is a writer I admire’
Jess Kidd, author of Things in Jars
Praise for NINE FOLDS MAKE A PAPER SWAN
‘Reminiscent of Téa Obreht, Nicole Krauss and Maggie O'Farrell... Wonderful.’
‘Graceful, confident, vivid... I loved this beautifully written novel.’
‘A rich and layered story of the complications, the mistakes and the heartbreaks of which a human life is made... I haven't read anything like it.’
‘Immensely readable and written with great flair.’
‘Rich in plot and full of characters that have been neglected by Irish literature.’
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THE BUTCHERS BLESSING