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Prophet Song


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A fearless portrait of a society on the brink as a mother faces a terrible choice, from an internationally award-winning author

About the Author

Paul Lynch is the prize-winning author of the novels, Beyond the Sea, Grace, The Black Snow and Red Sky in Morning. His third novel Grace won the 2018 Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year and the 2020 Ireland Francophonie Ambassadors’ Literary Award. His second novel The Black Snow won France’s bookseller prize, Prix Libr’à Nous for Best Foreign Novel. He has been shortlisted for many international prizes, including France’s Prix Jean Monnet for European Literature, Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger (Best Foreign Book Prize), Prix Littérature Monde and the Walter Scott Prize. He was born in Limerick in 1977, grew up in Donegal and lives in Dublin with his wife and two children.


'Lynch pulls off feats of language that are stunning to witness... This is a triumph of emotional storytelling, bracing and brave.' Esi Edugyan, Chair of Judges, The Booker Prize 2023

'If there was ever a crucial book for our current times, it's Paul Lynch's Prophet Song... A brilliantly haunting novel.' Observer

'With...Prophet Song, the judges have chosen perhaps the most timely and urgent book on the shortlist... it’s also the very intimate, elemental story of one woman’s love for her family, and her desperate attempts to hold on to the immediate world around her in the face of rising chaos.' Guardian

'Prophet Song is composed of masterful sentences, and packs a profound emotional punch.’ Gaby Wood, Chief Executive of the Booker Prize Foundation

'I haven't read a book that has shaken me so intensely in many years... The comparisons are inevitable – Saramago, Orwell, McCarthy – but this novel will stand entirely on its own.' Colum McCann, author of Apeirogon

'Powerful, claustrophobic and horribly real... Lynch's depiction of Eilish is nuanced and sympathetic, and in the fiercely embodied quality of her love for her children, entirely successful.' Guardian

'Surely one of the most important novels of this decade.' Ron Rash, author of Serena

'A compassionate, propulsive and timely novel that forces the reader to imagine — what if this was me?' FT

'The fifth novel from one of the most acclaimed Irish writers of his generation… As an adventure story-cum-political warning, it’s being touted as "Ireland’s 1984".' Telegraph

'In his typically lyrical, lulling style, Lynch pulls off a masterstroke… The chill, so close to home, is blood curdling.' Big Issue

'Chillingly plausible.' Irish Times

‘Thunderously powerful... In Prophet Song Paul Lynch asks us to face some of our darkest fears, and if he offers no comfort, and little hope, then we must surely recognize his true purpose: that the furious reader should return to the real world determined to find a better ending for this story.' TLS

'One of the most harrowing, minatory and provocative novels I have read in a while. It has the sharp cut of reality despite being set in an alternate version of our world, except for when it is all too recognisable. The final and penultimate chapters are truly shuddersome.' Scotsman

'Eilish is a wonderful creation… Lynch does an excellent job of showing just how swiftly – and plausibly – a society like ours could collapse. Certain sequences read like a thriller – readers will find themselves literally holding their breath – while others are rendered in beautiful, lyrical prose.' Irish Independent

'The work of a master novelist, Prophet Song is a stunning, midnight vision whose themes are at once ancient and all too timely: fear, complicity, resistance, and what becomes of us when hell rises to our homeland.' Rob Doyle, author of Threshold

'A profoundly human story that brings to life the horror of living in a modern war zone. Deft, subtle and written in strikingly beautiful prose, with this stunning novel Paul Lynch has joined the ranks of Atwood, Orwell and Burgess.' Christine Dwyer Hickey, author of The Narrow Land

'While much of the book’s sinister power lies in how Lynch hints at the steps by which democracy gives way to totalitarianism, its real energy comes from how he portrays the continuing everyday pressure of Eilish's obligations to her children and frail father amid the deepening turmoil… [A] provocative thought experiment.' Daily Mail

'A tremendous achievement... This is one of the most important novels of 2023. Paul Lynch is a fearless writer – unafraid of taking on large themes and tackling them face to face.' Irish Examiner

'Lynch renders this almost-Ireland in fluid, poetic prose, moulding sentences as if they were made of plasticine. It's no surprise that since his debut he has been compared with the American writer Cormac McCarthy.' The Sunday Times (Ireland)

'Gripping, brilliantly realised... A masterly novel that reminds us that democracy is always fragile.' Literary Review

'Lynch's writing bristles with tension… While Lynch's novel is a laudable addition to a genre that serves as a warning about how easy it is to lose the freedoms we take for granted, perhaps its greatest achievement is that at no point do the events depicted feel too improbable to be realistic… Prophet Song is entirely original.' Sunday Independent (Dublin)

'A prophetic masterpiece.' Washington Post

'A chilling cautionary tale of war, parenthood and loss. Tender and terrifying.' Economist, 'Best Books of 2023'

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