The Coast Road

A Novel

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Pub Date 04 Jun 2024 | Archive Date 30 Jul 2024

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“The last great book I read . . . an early proof of debut novelist Alan Murrin’s The Coast Road, about women in ’90s Ireland negotiating the complexities of marriage in a country where divorce is illegal. It will no doubt be a bestseller.”—actor Gillian Anderson

A poignant debut novel about the lives of women in a claustrophobic coast town and the search for independence in a society that seeks to limit it.

Set in 1994, The Coast Road tells the story of two women—Izzy Keaveney, a housewife, and Colette Crowley, a poet. Colette has left her husband and sons for a married man in Dublin. When she returns to her home in County Donegal to try to pick up the pieces of her old life, her husband, Shaun, a successful businessman, denies her access to her children.

The only way she can see them is with the help of neighbour Izzy, acting as a go-between. Izzy also feels caught in a troubled marriage. The friendship that develops between them will ultimately lead to tragedy for one, and freedom for the other.

Addictive as Big Little Lies with a depth and compassion that rivals the works of Claire Keegan, Elizabeth Strout, and Colm Tóibín, The Coast Road is a story about the limits placed on women’s lives in Ireland only a generation ago, and the consequences women have suffered trying to gain independence. Award-winning Irish author Alan Murrin reminds us of the price we are forced to pay to find freedom.

“The last great book I read . . . an early proof of debut novelist Alan Murrin’s The Coast Road, about women in ’90s Ireland negotiating the complexities of marriage in a country where divorce is...

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ISBN 9780063336520
PRICE $28.00 (USD)

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Featured Reviews

I loved this book and couldn’t believe it was a debut. Set in Ireland in the 1990’s when divorce was still illegal, it highlights the stories of three different woman, their marriages and how their lives will be entangled forever. This book explores the cost of independence and the price you often have to pay for freedom. Colette, a successful poet, has left her husband after an affair and rents the summer cottage of Delores and Donal Mullen. She teaches a writers workshop where she meets Izzy. Izzy is one of the few women in town who doesn’t judge Colette and they develop a friendship. Colette, Izzy and Delores become entangled in each others lives as the book races to a devastating conclusion. The role of church and state, the imbalance of power between men and women in relationships and a picture of life and gossip in a small town. Beautiful, intricate with a touch of humor because it is Irish after all . Such a great story, layered. well developed characters and humorous, real dialogue. I’ve preordered my copy. Just loved this book!

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The Coast Road is a historical fiction novel set in the 1990's while Ireland was undergoing the vote to legalize divorce. First of all, it's shocking to learn that Ireland took until 1996 to legalize divorce and it barely passed the vote. That bit of information left me gobsmacked!
The Coast Road focuses upon relationships of a few different families all from the same small town. Colette is the main focus of the story as she has recently left her husband for another man. We learn of her plight to fight her husband to see her children as she moves back to the small town to be near them. Colette is the main narrative of the story however Izzy and Dolores and their marriages are also interwoven into the story.
The main storyline is about the limitations of small-town Ireland, its patriarchal society with peer pressure and gossip, all overshadowed by the control of the church. Women were expected to care for their homes, children, and support their husband without regard for their own aspirations.
The story has strong female voices, tragic relationships, and mixed with a bit of mystery but mostly it is fraught with bad timing. Women, born of a time where you are bound by the rule of law and limitations set by a patriarchal society. Topics include marriage, friendships, career, divorce, abortion, family law, and parental rights.
I found the storytelling spellbinding and the author's unraveling of Colette's complicated story well told. I enjoyed the multi-layers of each community member's interpersonal relationships.
My favorite quote from the book, "She had exhausted herself with stories, spent her life and energy in always wanting things to be another way. The only thing that seemed to offer her comfort was the lesson she had taken from Colette-that acceptance was not the same as resignation."

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I really enjoyed this book.
The story takes place in 90s Ireland, pre legalization of divorce. We follow three women Dolores who is married to an adulterer, Izzy who is married to a politician and Colette who is married but separated from her well to do husband.
The writing is superb, a real character study. I loved following these women's lives while they maneuver through messy situations. I can't get over how good the writing is...lyrical, in depth, moving... A great book for people that like to read about the day to day madness of ordinary people.

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