Once the big house on an Irish estate, Birchwood has turned into a baroque madhouse for its ruined inhabitants. One disaster succeeds another, until young Gabriel Godkin runs away to join a travelling circus and look for his long-lost twin sister. Soon he discovers that famine and unrest stalk the countryside, and Ireland is ruined too.
‘Birchwood represents a watershed in contemporary Irish writing: it is a novel in which history becomes a rich black comedy full of land agitation and Gothic characters; and a sense of bewilderment at the nature of the universe fills its pages’ Colm Tóibín
‘John Banville is one of the great masters of the . . . English language’ Catherine Lockerbie, Scotsman