Martine McDonagh is more than a little bit rock ‘n’ roll – she was manager of British indie pop band James for nearly ten years – designed their daisy logo, and sang backing vocals on their big hit ‘Sit down‘.
When Myriad editions offered me a copy of her first novel I have Waited and You Have Come to review – a slim dystopian psychothriller (which I reviewed on my old blog here), I loved it and was hooked.
We made contact on Facebook and in due course, Martine offered me a copy of her second novel After Phoenix. I accepted. Although it couldn’t be more different, the raw portrait of a family’s grief over the son lost in a motorbike accident was another compelling read.
Narcissim for Beginners by Martine McDonagh
Her third novel Narcissism for Beginners was crowdfunded by Unbound. Of course, I pledged and got my name in the book not once for pledging but thrice – for they were kind enough to quote from my reviews of her first two novels inside. Thank you guys.
This sort of coming of age story is a long letter from Sonny Anderson to the mother whom he hasn’t seen since he was five. He was brought up in a cult by his fake guru father in Brazil, then rescued and had a troubled adolescence with a guardian in California. Now, having inherited his father’s estate he is coming to England to find out about his mother – and to pay homage to his favourite film Shaun of the Dead by visiting its locations…
It’s a wonderful book, very frank, funny and touching – you can’t help but love Sonny. My full review is at Shiny, where I also interviewed Martine which was a pleasure. I’m really looking forward to whatever she does next!
Read my full review here & interview here.
Source: Own copy from TBR.
Martine McDonagh, Narcissism for Beginners (Unbound, March 2017) Hardback, 208 pages.
Buy at Amazon UK.
5 thoughts on “Meet Martine McDonagh…”
I loved James, and still do – I was listening to Gold Mother the other day! (It seems too much like hard work to discover more recent music, so I keep listening to old favourites!) We saw them several times at the fabulous Barrowlands, and “sat down” on the filthy floor for that song! This book sounds really different – I saw the cover on NetGalley, it’s so memorable! I think I should investigate!
I think you’d enjoy this book Linda – and definitely her first one too.
Very naughtily, when Sit Down came on, instead of ‘Sit down next to me’ we all used to sing ‘The people in the back can’t see.’!
Brilliant! I’d love to see them again – fantastic songs! I was one of the “baggy Manchester” squad (what a mess we looked!)
I’m so glad you gave Martine’s book this coverage on Shiny. It deserves the attention. I think she’s even cooler now that I know she does backing vocals on “Sit Down”! You were able to appreciate the book even more than I could because of your familiarity with SOTD, I think. I’d like to get hold of her second book, too.
I really resonate with her writing, and although I’m not a short story fan, I love succinct novels that don’t sprawl – as all of hers are. All recommended.