Set in Ireland and New York, a debut novel about an affair and its explosive consequences—the sins of the father visited on the son in unexpected and irreversible ways.
“Fully engaging, well-written, very imaginative . . . A wonderful debut.” — Irish Times
“When you read a novel cover to cover in one day, you know it’s something exceptional.” — John Boyne, author of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
Outside an east Belfast mission hall, pastor and family man Samuel Orr meets Anna, a young Beckett scholar. They embark on an intense, passionate affair, their connection both intellectual and erotic. When Anna falls pregnant, the affair is revealed. The repercussions are slow to emerge but inescapable, and the fallout, when it finally comes, is shocking.
Over thirty years later Sam, their son, is in New York, living a steady, guarded life, his childhood and family safely abandoned. But when the past once more crashes into his life, he is forced to confront the fears he has kept close all these years.
“Brilliantly written throughout . . . With tight, dispassionate, superbly controlled prose, Harrison channels the spirit of Don DeLillo or Camus.” — Irish Independent
“Harrison’s elegant prose and deeply felt characters create a novel with a fiercely beating heart.” — Kirkus Reviews
“Written with burning intensity . . . Powerful.” — Daily Mail
“Harrison’s debut is a fully engaging, well-written, very imaginative novel . . . The early part of the novel is written in powerful poetic prose, and with the detailed analysis of emotion, the understanding of how body and mind interact, strongly reminiscent of D.H. Lawrence . . . A wonderful debut.”
— Irish Times
“Brilliantly written throughout . . . A truly excellent novel, on all counts . . . With tight, dispassionate, superbly controlled prose, Harrison channels the spirit of Don DeLillo or Camus . . . in an unflinching yet compassionate investigation of matters of the human heart and—[like] Graham Greene—the heart of the matter.”
— Irish Independent
“Written with burning intensity, this is a powerful novel about marriage, passion, anger, and guilt.”
— Daily Mail (UK)
“Hugely impressive. A finely written tale which is original, compulsive, and at times chilling.”
— Irish Examiner
“After years in the wilderness, the past decade has seen a massive upswell of literary talent emerging from Northern Ireland . . . Harrison writes well and brings Belfast and the sectarian conflict vividly to life.”
— Catholic Herald
“When you read a novel cover to cover in one day, you know it’s something exceptional.”
— John Boyne, author of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
“Terrific. The First Day is expanding and expanding all the time, like its own model universe . . . Marvelous.”
— Sebastian Barry, author of Days Without End, winner of the 2016 Costa Book of the Year
“Crisp, spare, lean and compelling. An auspicious debut.”
— Patrick McCabe, author of Booker short-listed The Butcher Boy
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