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Thirty-four year old Luke O’Brien has left the city to live a quiet, bookish life on the River Sullane in County Waterford. Alone in his big house, he longs for a return to his family’s heyday and turns to books—especially Ulysses—for solace and sublimation. One morning a young woman arrives at his door and enters his life, with profound consequences.
A novel that pays glorious homage to Joyce, The River Capture tells of a man’s phenomenal descent into near madness when love is lost. It is about humanity’s capacity for good and evil and what happens when Nature is thwarted. More than anything, it is a book about the life of the mind and the redemptive powers of art.
‘The River Capture is breath-taking. It is profound in the most bruising way; elegant, and then thrillingly savage; expansive, but masterfully precise, and full of sentences that made me choke on jealous rage. Costello is in a different class altogether.’
‘Astonishingly bittersweet and beautiful, The River Capture is a quiet, important, hypnotic book about absolutely everything. It is as near perfect as it is possible for a novel to be’
‘A novel of glorious abundance: reverent and angry and earthy and spiritual. Costello takes the familiar and transforms it, again and again, into soaring meditations on love, sensuality, human cruelty. To read The River Capture is to witness a writer in evolution, taking her work to a whole new level. This is a bold, sophisticated, beautiful novel, both a homage to Joyce and a deeply personal and contemporary work’
‘Costello’s…style is honed down to deceptively simple profundity, capturing emotional essence with breathless economy.’
‘With extraordinary devotion, Mary Costello brings to life a woman who would otherwise have faded into oblivion amid the legions of the meek and the unobtrusive.’
‘I read Academy Street cover to cover in one night, unable to stop. It…brings to mind the elegance of Colm Toibin and the insight of Alice Munro. Its stealthy, quiet power will exert a hold over any reader.’
‘These stories resonate profoundly together, whether through powerful parallels or upsetting contrasts.’
‘To take on the ne plus ultra of literary modernism and bend it to one’s own ends is an audacious act of literary ventriloquism and one that Costello pulls off astonishingly successfully…Joyce devotees will discover much to enjoy in this clever homage, while fans of contemporary Irish literature will find a subtle, slightly melancholy, engrossing read.’
‘As elegantly written as her previous book, it is more obscure in its intentions, more adventurous in its ambitions…[B]eautifully crafted.’
‘Mary Costello has a genius for taking ordinary, unheralded lives and discovering within them the disquiet, the disillusionment, concealed just below the surface…This is a novel in constant conversation with Joyce’s masterpiece, an interrogation of its influence and confluence with the life of Ireland, its writers and its history.’
‘The most beautiful new novel I read this year. A love letter to Joyce and Ulysses that is also influenced by other Irish writers, like John McGahern and Colm Tóibín, it’s the story of how one life can take hold of another, and the fine line between integration and disruption.’
‘The River Capture by Mary Costello is a dream of a novel, a love letter to nature, Joyce, art and love itself.’