AUTHOR Mike McCormack
Since its release last May, ‘Solar Bones’, by Louisburgh writer Mike McCormack, has been garnering critical acclaim far and wide. Now it has also been shortlisted for the prestigious Goldsmiths Prize, which sees McCormack join the ranks of such literary stars as as Howard Jacobson and Jim Crace, and previous winners Ali Smith, Eimear McBride and Kevin Barry.
Published by Irish publisher Tramp Press, ‘Solar Bones’ is focuses on the life of its narrator Marcus Conway, a county engineer living in Louisburgh. That focus is retrospective, as Marcus is dead: He has returned to his kitchen as church bells clang for All Saints Day.
Throughout, McCormack not only plays with perspectives of time and reality, but also with the written word. Full stops are conspicuous by their absence – the rhythm of the words and sentences forms its own punctuation. The result is a compelling, often funny and frequently haunting read, and a central character that is somehow more real than many of the living.
Mike McCormack’s debut collection of short stories, Getting it the Head (1996) won the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, and one of its stories was adapted into an award-winning short film by Johnny O’Reilly. His second novel, ‘Notes from a Coma’ (2005) was described by The Irish Times as ‘the greatest Irish novel of the decade,’ and was shortlisted for the Irish Book of the Year Award. His second short story collection ‘Forensic Songs’ appeared in 2012. ‘Solar Bones’ is McCormack’s third novel.
The winner of the Goldsmiths Prize, worth £10,000, will be picked from the six-strong shortlist and announced at a ceremony in London on November 9. Though the prize has been won by Irish writers twice before, this year represents the first time a title from an Irish publisher has been shortlisted for the award.