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Only Say the Word by Niall Williams

Only Say the Word is set in County Clare, Ireland, where author Jim Foley is devastated by the loss of his wife. While eloquent when placing words on paper, Foley lacks the social and communication skills to interact in a meaningful way with others. He's unable to even address his children's grief, and begins to write a novel about his childhood to understand his own life. His parents were no different from him, ignoring their children to deal with their own emotions and shortcomings. His mother lost herself in religion after the death of two babies, one born illegitimately. Foley buried himself in literature and his brother became a math prodigy. Leaving the stultifying house for university helped neither of them fit in with the rest of society. To pull together what's left of his life, Foley must unlock the answers that might allow him to pull his family together. Niall Williams' novel has received high praise with The Guardian saying, "It helps turn what might have been a parochial narrative of the rainy Irish west into a compelling, serious and deeply persuasive novel that does not lilt at all but grips the imagination."
Buy Only Say the Word by Niall Williams


London Times review by Aisling Foster

The Guardian review by Joseph O'Connor

The Telegraph review by Patrick Gale

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