This Magnificent Desolation

This Magnificent Desolation Cover

This Magnificent Desolation

By Thomas O'Malley

Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, Hardcover, 9781608192793, 405pp.

Publication Date: March 19, 2013

Description

Duncan's entire world is the orphanage where he lives, a solitary outpost on the open plains of northern Minnesota. Aged ten in 1980, he has no memories of his life before now, but he has stories that he recites like prayers: the story of how his mother brought him here during the worst blizzard of the century; the story of how God spoke to him at his birth and gave him a special purpose.

Duncan is sure that his mother is dead until the day she turns up to claim him. Maggie Bright, a soprano who was once the talent of her generation, now sings in a San Francisco bar through a haze of whisky cut with sharp regret. She often finishes up in the arms of Joshua McGreevey, a Vietnam vet who earns his living as part of a tunneling crew seventy feet beneath the Bay. He smells of sea silt and loam, as if he has been dredged from the deep bottom of the world - and his wounds run deep too.

Thrown into this mysterious adult world, Duncan finds comfort in an ancient radio, from which tumble the voices of Apollo mission astronauts who never came home, and dreams of finding his real father.

A heart-breaking, staggering, soaring novel, "This Magnificent Desolation" allows a child's perspective to illuminate a dark world, and explores the creeping devastation of war, the many facets of loneliness, the redemptive power of the imagination, and the possibility of a kind of grace.



About the Author
Thomas O'Malley was raised in Ireland and England. He is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and has been a Returning Writing Fellow and recipient of the Grace Paley Endowed Fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Center in Province town, Massachusetts. He lives in Rhinebeck, New York.


Praise For This Magnificent Desolation

"A beautiful, floating novel. Thomas O'Malley writes with grace and style and bravery. There is not an ounce of cynicism here. While most of us remain earthbound, O'Malley allows us to believe that we can, at various times, go to an imaginative elsewhere. Even the desolation can have its own magnificence. O'Malley is a great talent, reminiscent of another Irish writer, Sebastian Barry."--Colum McCann