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  • Tanglewood by Dermot Bolger


'Demot Bolger's Tanglewood is a superb novel about the implosion not only of the economy in the mid-2000s, but the implosion of marriage and morality and memory too. Bolger does it masterfully, as always. He has been prying open the Irish ribcage since he was 16 years old. With Tanglewood all his talents are on display...Pound for pound, word for word, I'd have Bolger represent us in any literary Olympics.' - Colum McCann, Irish Independent

A fierce and terrifyingly uncompromising talent… serious and provocative.' - Nick Hornby, Sunday Times

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‘Phone the cops or phone Alice. But just don’t expect life to ever be the same after you make that call…’


When two neighbouring Dublin couples decide to cooperate in building a townhouse that straddles both of their gardens, they have no idea that the journey they embark on will expose the faultlines within their relationships and result in a panicked decision one night when the two husbands, Chris and Ronan, are confronted by a moral dilemma. The consequences of their actions cast these law-abiding men adrift into unknown territory, propelled into a new moral landscape where it seems impossible to turn back.

Written by a master story-teller, Tanglewood grows into an incisive dissection of Ireland in 2007, when – although these characters are unaware of it – the Celtic Tiger edifice is quietly imploding. It is bitter-sweet examination of the simmering tensions, intolerable strains and unbreakable bonds of memory and love that can simultaneously exist within marriage.


‘Tanglewood is an outstanding piece of work by one of our most mature and courageous writers, one who is unafraid to hack his way through the tangles of contemporary Irish life and write a rare thing in Irish fiction: a serious state-of-the-nation novel.’ – The Irish Times

‘An absorbing meditation on marriage, masculinity, parenting and the general anxieties of the middle class… Bolger approaches these variegated lives with a wisdom that contrasts sharply with the benightedness of those he depicts. On every page, insight and illumination are found, as might be expected from one of Ireland’s most perceptive writers.’ – Times Literary Supplement

‘Only a writer of Bolger’s precision and suppleness could wade back through the nation’s self-loathing into that mess and mine new truths, treasures to be heeded and learned from…Bolger isn’t meditating on regret, love, moral fibre, greed and carpe diem – he’s setting the record straight on them…This is storytelling that flows deep and soundly, and brims with a hard-earned wisdom…sublime.’ – Sunday Independent

‘well-wrought, considered, layered and evocative.’ – Irish Examiner

‘Bolger is a witty and sensitive writer…who has always been attuned to social issues…Bolger writes about love and grief particularly well, and it is refreshing to see such an open portrait of the sexual lives if each of the characters, from menopausal Alice to lesbian Sophie, from sexually shy Chris to sexually rampant Ronan…Tanglewood makes a critical contribution to contemporary Irish fiction of the post-boom period.’ – Sunday Business Post

‘Bolger is a gifted storyteller and prose stylist…a gripping, well-observed examination of the corrosive effects of greed on love, relationships and families.’ – Hot Press

‘Tanglewood is an impressive feat by an author fearlessly interrogating one of the most traumatic moments in recent Irish history. It’s a mirror to an age when the party ended.’ – The National UAE


Praise for Dermot Bolger

‘Bolger is to contemporary Dublin what Dickens was to Victorian London: archivist, reporter, sometimes infuriated lover. Certainly no understanding of Ireland’s capital at the close of the twentieth century is complete without an acquaintance with his magnificent writing.’ – Joseph O’Connor, Books Quarterly

‘Joyce, O’Flaherty, Brian Moore, John McGahern, a fistful of O’Brien’s. This is a succulent Who’s Who of Irish Writing, and Dermot Bolger is of the same ilk … an exceptional literary gift.’ – Independent UK

‘Whether he’s capturing the slums of Dublin or the pain of a missed opportunity in love, Bolger’s writing simply sings.’ – Sunday Business Post

‘Dermot Bolger creates a Dublin, a particular world, like no one else writing can … the urban landscape of the thriller that Bolger has made exclusively his own.’ – Sunday Independent

‘A wild, frothing poetic odyssey … a brilliant and ambitious piece of writing.’ – Sunday Telegraph

‘The writing is so strong, so exact … triumphantly successful – bare, passionate, almost understating the almost unstatable.’ – Financial Times

About the Author

Dermot Bolger is one of Ireland’s best known poets and playwrights and the author of eleven critically acclaimed novels, including The Journey Home, The Family on Paradise Pier and New Town Soul. His numerous awards include The Samuel Beckett Prize and he was named Commentator of the Year at the 2012 Irish Newspaper Awards.


Dermot Bolger


Trade Paperback





Release Date

April 2015

Additional Information

Weight .400 g
Dimensions .235 × .158 × .16 mm


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