A locally set novel A Mad and Wonderful Thing by Dundalk man Mark Mulholland, which is released in Ireland and the UK this week, continues to provoke literary attention and debate following its successful advance release in Australia and New Zealand.
The work is receiving diverse reactions and literary critics have strongly divided opinions with few in the middle ground.
‘It is very early days,’ Mark says, ‘and although the novel is dividing opinion the response in Australia and New Zealand has been fantastic with the work being awarded Book of the Month / Book of the Week, etc . . . by many press and book outlets from Australia’s biggest bookseller to small coastal bookstore cafés. In a way the small shops are more real as I can visualise readers there with my novel, and that is a wonderful thing. Not everyone gets the book, and that’s okay. And not everyone wants to get it, and that’s okay too. But the critics and press, broadly speaking, have been very generous and commending in their reviews.’
Australia’s Readings Monthly calls it: ‘An extraordinary book; it confronts political and moral choices with a harsh brutality, but is, as well, a great love story.’ ( http://www.readings.com.au/review/a-mad-and-wonderful-thing-by-mark-mulholland )
The New Zealand Listener says: ‘A Mad and Wonderful Thing is Mark Mulholland’s terrific first novel. Johnny Donnelly, our charismatic hero, is a young man of many parts: a carpenter, a self-taught philosopher, and a cultural nationalist of the first order. Mulholland has pulled off that most difficult of literary quinellas: a serious story, entertainly told.’ (http://www.listener.co.nz/culture/books/troubles-tale-with-twists/ )
And Booktopia, Australia’s biggest bookseller, says of the book: ‘A sparkling debut that celebrates the vitality, resilience, and humanity of Ireland.’ ( http://blog.booktopia.com.au/2014/03/05/review-a-mad-and-wonderful-thing-by-mark-mulholland-review-by-caroline-baum/ )
Every major national and state newspaper in Australia has published an article on the book, and many have carried an interview with Mark. ABC National Radio featured a prominent interview on their prime-time morning show.
Victoria’s The Age newspaper says the novel is: ‘. . . thrilling, appalling, and marvellously resolved.’
And Sydney’s Morning Herald says the novel is: ‘A lyrical, poetic, and passionate tale …’
The book is also beginning to prove popular with book and reading clubs.
Ink361 calls it an ‘Awesome debut novel.’
Great Escape Books says: ‘A Mad and Wonderful Thing inspires a sense of pure delight. … Despite some dark themes, this riveting novel manages to be one of the great uplifting reads of the year.’ ( http://greatescapebooks.wordpress.com/great-new-releases/ )
And Australia’s Co-op review says: ‘I really enjoyed reading this … An amazing narrator, he’s charming and funny, realistic, patriotic, and wistful. Ultimately this is a redemption story and a story about life – just how mad and difficult and surprising, heartbreaking, impossible, and wonderful it can be. The language is descriptive and flows beautifully making it a really lovely read that has surprising twists and high drama.’ ( http://blog.coop.com.au/2014/03/31/mad-wonderful-thing/ )
Following the critical acclaim Down Under the Dundalk set novel is released here in Ireland this Thursday, May 8th.
For further information: http://markmulholland.org/ Book Publicist – Melbourne: Bridie Riordan, Scribe Publications. firstname.lastname@example.org http://scribepublications.com.au/ Book Publicist – London: Rina Gill, Scribe Publications. email@example.com http://scribepublications.co.uk/ Mark’s Literary Agent – London: Laura Susijn, The Susijn Agency, London. firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.thesusijnagency.com/