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Once We Sang Like Other Men

Once We Sang Like Other Men
  • Once We Sang Like Other Men


'Once We Sang Like Other Men is an unusual and quietly moving book that pays testament to the heroism of ordinary life.' - The Irish Times

‘An outstanding collection that combines the strength of pitch-perfect writing with a delicacy of imagination and insight.’ - David Parks

‘I’m not an impulsive person. Twice in my life I’ve done impulsive things. The first time was when I packed a bag, walked out on my wife and kids, left my job and hit the road to follow the Captain. Goodbye was all she wrote.’

These wide-ranging stories follow the disparate disciples of the Captain – a mysterious, powerful and magnetic figure whose violent and chaotic death at the hands of the army radically alters their lives in myriad ways. From rural North American farms and dive bars to the suburbs of Ireland and the sands of Palestine, we witness their struggles to find a place, a peace, in a world that is fractured and incomplete.

Once We Sang Like Other Men is a surprising, mysterious, lyrical and affecting collection with a stunning range of voice from a recognised master of the form.


‘The poet in McKenna shines through in some beautiful lyrical writing……the stories draw you on in the skilled hands of the narrator…a book which, with its disparate parts, must be swallowed whole to be fully enjoyed.’ – Sunday Independent

‘There is the keening desperation of the devout in many of these finely crafted and disparate voices, while in others an emptiness within is forced to continue unsated or with fingers crossed that another answer awaits them out there on the road…Words are enough to bring rapture or sanctity or stimulation, if they are assembled in the right way.’ – Irish Independent

Praise for John MacKenna

‘A consummately skilled author’. – The Guardian

‘John MacKenna’s short stories are a wonder’. – The Irish Times

‘MacKenna is McGahern’s inheritor; he harvests and hoards his words, knowing their nuance, their gram-weight worth’. – Scotland on Sunday

John MacKenna was born in 1952 in Castledermot in Co Kildare. His short story collections include The Fallen and Other Stories (1992), which won The Irish Times First Fiction Award, and The River Field (2007). His novels include Joseph (2014), Clare (2014) and The Space Between Us (2009). He has won a number of awards for his writing, including a Hennessy Literary Award in 1983, the 1986 Leitrim Guardian Award and C. Day-Lewis Awards in 1989 and 1990. Also a well-known documentary maker, he lives in Carlow.



John MacKenna


C-Format Paperback





Release Date

Febuary 2017



Additional Information

Weight .357 g
Dimensions .215 × .135 × .15 mm


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SKU: 9781848405813 - Need Help? Contact Us Leave Feedback

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