Close to Home by Michael Magee

Michael Magee’s debut novel follows Sean, a young man returning home to Belfast after university. 

Even though the flat he shares with his friend Ryan is on the verge of repossession, Sean still finds himself out on the “gear” most nights, risking losing his bar job, and pulling schemes at the local supermarket to get by. 

A run in at a house party one night brings up an assault charge against Sean and changes the course of his life. He’s then forced to reckon with the relationships that have shaped him. 

Close to Home felt like a coming of age novel as Sean looked to the past, found meaning in the present, and considered a different outlook for his future. 

The characters that Magee has created; Sean’s mother, his brother Anto, and his childhood friend Mairéad were among those that leapt off the page, each with a life of their own. 

Gorgeous and tender, this is a novel with themes of post-war Belfast, the class divide, loneliness, and dreaming. It’s also about friendships, new and old, and how the people we surround ourselves with can change who we are and who we become. Magee is a talent to watch. 

Close to Home is personal to me in that it brought me home to the Belfast I know. The places and the people. It was all so familiar. That’s Belfast, and even though I've moved away, it'll always be home. 

Michael Magee, Courtesy Twitter

Michael Magee was born and grew up in West Belfast. He is the fiction editor of The Tangerine, and his work has appeared in Winter Papers, The Stinging Fly, and The Lifeboat, and in The 32: An Anthology of Irish Working-Class Writing. He recently received his PhD in creative writing from Queen’s University, Belfast. Close to Home is his first novel.

Close to Home is available for pre-order, releasing May 16th in hardcover and e-book formats. Check Bookshop to support an indie bookstore near you. For additional retailers, check Macmillan.