Academy StreetBook - 2015
A vibrant, intimate, hypnotic portrait of one woman's life, from an important new writer
Tess Lohan is the kind of woman that we meet and fail to notice every day. A single mother. A nurse. A quiet woman, who nonetheless feels things acutely--a woman with tumultuous emotions and few people to share them with.
Academy Street is Mary Costello's luminous portrait of a whole life. It follows Tess from her girlhood in western Ireland through her relocation to America and her life there, concluding with a moving reencounter with her Irish family after forty years of exile. The novel has a hypnotic pull and a steadily mounting emotional force. It speaks of disappointments but also of great joy. It shows how the signal events of the last half century affect the course of a life lived in New York City.
Anne Enright has said that Costello's first collection of stories, The China Factory , "has the feel of work that refused to be abandoned; of stories that were written for the sake of getting something important right . . . Her writing has the kind of urgency that the great problems demand" ( The Guardian ).
Academy Street is driven by this same urgency. In sentence after sentence it captures the rhythm and intensity of inner life.