Solar Bones

The spirit of Marcus Conway sits in his kitchen on All Soul's Day and ruminates on a conventional life. Solar Bones by Mike McCormack (Forensic Songs) is a luminous poem cloaked in the form of a novel.

Marcus Conway was born and raised in the same Irish village where he settles as an adult. His work as a civil engineer causes him to see the world as different manifestations of interconnectivity. As he recalls the details that made up his life, he realizes that hindsight offers clarity that was not available at the time. He marvels that "all this comes to me now in such an unbroken torrent... sitting here at this table... faces and words and all sorts of fragments falling through me."

With lyrical prose woven in one long free-association, punctuated with pauses and space for reflection, Marcus reviews the chapters that create his own story. He considers the substance of everyday lives with exuberant, insightful prose and remembers "all the things which crossed the grain of our days, losing some of their gloss and sheen in their contact with us... leaning to their purpose with greater ease and balance." Sentences swoop and soar with flowing, almost musical language, building to a climax of insight and grace.

Solar Bones has won the Goldsmiths Prize and other awards since its initial publication in Ireland, and with it McCormack proves himself to be a genius of language and form. --Cindy Pauldine, bookseller, the river's end bookstore, Oswego, N.Y.

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