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‘A brilliant book…that explores the brutal legacy of addiction and the consequences of a deep grief left to stagnate’ SARA COX

‘A work of gilded melancholy that is going to take everyone by surprise’ UNA MULLALLY

‘Macmanus writes with flair and confidence rarely seen in a debut’ SINÉAD GLEESON

One Saturday morning, TJ McConnell wakes up to find his mother, Mary, gone. He doesn’t know where – or why – but he’s the only one who can help find her.

Mary grew up longing for information about the mother she never knew. Her brother could barely remember her, and their father numbed his pain with drink.

Now aged thirty-seven, Mary has lived in the same house her whole life. She’s never left Belfast. TJ, who’s about to turn eighteen, is itching to see more of the world.

But when his mother disappears, TJ begins to realise what he’s been taking for granted.

MOTHER MOTHER takes us down the challenging road of Mary’s life while following TJ’s increasingly desperate search for her, as he begins to discover what has led her to this point.

This is a story about family, grief, addiction and motherhood, and it asks an important question – if you spend your life giving everything to the ones you love, do you risk losing yourself along the way?

‘A tender, surprising, occasionally bleak, moving and delicate book’ Irish Times

‘A study of grief, addiction and what it means to be a mother’ Stylist

‘Melancholy, beautifully unadorned prose’ Mail on Sunday

‘Unflinching and unsparing but also beautifully written’ Daily Mail

‘An incredible debut’ Daily Mirror

‘A page-turning exploration of grief, addiction, young motherhood and unbreakable family ties’ British Vogue


Prepare to fall in love with Mary, to want to reach right into the pages and hold her as a child and help her as an adult. MOTHER MOTHER is a brilliant book that takes you with it on a journey of struggle, friendship and forgiveness that explores the brutal legacy of addiction and the consequences of a deep grief left to stagnate
Sara Cox, broadcaster and author of TILL THE COWS COME HOME
Macmanus' immersive novel reminds us that the minutiae of daily struggles are always worth homing in on. Her meditative, considered writing constantly pulls us towards the messy experience of life itself, where there is hope to be found in the grind of intergenerational trauma, and beauty amongst the brokenness. This is a work of gilded melancholy that is going to take everyone by surprise
Una Mullally, journalist and broadcaster
I adored it. I loved the characters and stories, and I became completely immersed in that world. It's so beautifully written... Moving and brilliant
Emily Eavis, co-author of GLASTONBURY 50
A brave and occasionally heartbreaking portrait of a family falling apart and the woman who's been holding them all together for far too long. Macmanus' debut novel is assured, evocative and, like her characters, full of gentle strength
Jan Carson, author of THE FIRE STARTERS
Superb... [Macmanus is] brilliant at voice and motivation and the (historic and emotional) passage of time; at making households so vivid you know their smell. Can't recommend enough
Laura Snapes, journalist
I loved this book and felt powerfully connected to every character I met within its pages. Tender and deeply felt, it's a beautiful portrayal of the pain and beauty of normal life, told in hauntingly lyrical prose. Poignant and beautifully observed, it was a novel that stayed with me a long time, reminding me again and again of the secrets hidden within the most seemingly normal lives, and the awe-inspiring power and resilience of women everywhere
Clover Stroud, author of MY WILD AND SLEEPLESS NIGHTS
A hugely entertaining and emotional story about intergenerational loss and love, trauma and acceptance. Macmanus writes with flair and confidence rarely seen in a debut
Sinéad Gleeson, author of CONSTELLATIONS
'A brilliant debut novel from an exciting new voice in literature . . . Macmanus makes weaving a decades-spanning, multiple- perspective narrative look easy in this highly accomplished debut'
Sunday Business Post