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Sean's brother Anthony is a hard man. When they were kids their ma did her best to keep him out of trouble nut you can't say anything to Anto. Sean was supposed to be different. He was supposed to leave and never come back.


But Sean does come back. Arriving home after university, he finds Anthony's drinking is worse than ever. Meanwhile, the jobs in Belfast have vanished, Sean's degree isn't worth the paper it's written on and no one will give him the time of day. One night he loses control and assaults a stranger at a party, and everything is tipped into chaos. CLOSE TO HOME witnesses the aftermath of that night, as Sean attempts to make sense of who he has become, and to reckon with his relationships that have shaped him, for better and worse.


Drawing from his own experiences, Michael Magee writes about contemporary masculinity as shaped by place and class, by individual and collective trauma, by silence and violence, but also by courage, loyalty and the will to survive. He writes about the complicated kinds of love that exist in a family - brother to brother, mother to son. He writes about the intimacies of male friendship, and the painful sensation of no longer belonging among the people you grew up with. He writes about what happens in the gaps between what is sayable. And he writes, with dazzling intelligence and humanity, about the generational cycles of poverty and crime which keep young working-class men in harm's way, and the struggle to break free from them.


Luminous and devastating, CLOSE TO HOME is a novel about deciding what kind of man you want to be, and finding yourself in the scarred city you call home.

CLOSE TO HOME - Michael Magee

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