Literary Programme 2018

Bernard MacLaverty

Bernard MacLaverty

Writer
Bernard MacLaverty

Where
Maritime Hotel

Date
Mon 16 July 2018

Time
20:30

Cost
€20

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Sixteen years on from his last novel, the Booker Prize-nominated author Bernard MacLaverty returns with Midwinter Break to remind us why he is regarded as one of the greatest living Irish writers.

A retired couple, Gerry and Stella Gilmore, fly from their home in Scotland to Amsterdam for a long weekend. A holiday to refresh the senses, to do some sightseeing and generally to take stock of what remains of their lives. Their relationship seems safe, easy, familiar – but over the course of the four days we discover the deep uncertainties which exist between them.

Gerry, once an architect, is forgetful and set in his ways. Stella is tired of his lifestyle, worried about their marriage and angry at his constant undermining of her religious faith. Things are not helped by memories which have begun to resurface of a troubled time in their native Ireland. As their midwinter break comes to an end, we understand how far apart they are – and can only watch as they struggle to save themselves.

Bernard is a master storyteller, and Midwinter Break is the essential MacLaverty novel: accurate, compassionate observation, effortlessly elegant writing and a tender, intimate, heart-rending story – but it is also a profound examination of human love and how we live together, a chamber piece of real resonance and power. Forty years on from his first book, Bernard has written his masterpiece.

‘MacLaverty is a sweetly astute writer, a master of fine detail, compassing the quotidian, the intimate and the sacred. Midwinter Break shows us how ordinary and immense love can be.’ Anne Enright

Midwinter Break is a work of extraordinary emotional precision and sympathy, about coming to terms – to an honest reckoning – with love and the loss of love, with memory and pain. Full of scenes that are rendered with exquisite accuracy and care, allowing the most detailed physical descriptions to be placed against the possibility of a rich spiritual life, this is a novel of great ambition by an artist at the height of his powers.’ Colm Tóibín

‘MacLaverty's prose is deceptively simple and rewardingly straight-forward and efficient. But what he writes about in this much-anticipated novel – the resilience and stress-lines of human love experienced over much time – is anything but simple and straightforward. It’s the stuff of life.’ Richard Ford

Bernard MacLaverty lives in Glasgow. This is his fifth novel. He has written five collections of stories and four other novels, including Grace Notes which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and won the Saltire Scottish Book of the Year Award. He has written versions of his fiction for other media – radio and television plays, screenplays and libretti. His latest novel, Midwinter Break, won Novel of the Year in 2017’s Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards.

Bernard’s photo is by Jude MacLaverty