Release Date: December 1, 2020
SHORTLISTED FOR THE COSTA FIRST NOVEL AWARD
FINALIST FOR THE IRISH BOOK AWARD FOR NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR
FINALIST FOR THE COMEDY WOMEN IN PRINT PRIZE
About The Book:
Majella is happiest out of the spotlight, away from her neighbors’ stares and the gossips of the small town in Northern Ireland where she grew up just after the Troubles. She lives a quiet life caring for her alcoholic mother, working in the local chip shop, watching the regular customers come and go. She wears the same clothes each day (overalls, too small), has the same dinner each night (fish and chips, microwaved at home after her shift ends), and binge-watches old DVDs of the same show (Dallas, best show on TV) from the comfort of her bed.
But underneath Majella’s seemingly ordinary life are the facts that she doesn’t know where her father is and that every person in her town has been changed by the lingering divide between Protestants and Catholics. When Majella’s predictable existence is upended by the death of her granny, she comes to realize there may be more to life than the gossips of Aghybogey, the pub, and the chip shop. In fact, there just may be a whole big world outside her small town.
Told in a highly original voice, with a captivating heroine readers will love and root for, Big Girl, Small Town will appeal to fans of Sally Rooney, Ottessa Moshfegh, and accessible literary fiction with an edge.
About The Author:
Michelle Gallen was born in Tyrone in the 1970s and grew up during the Troubles a few miles from the British border in Ireland. She studied English literature at Trinity College Dublin and Publishing at Stirling University. She has been published in the Stinging Fly, Mslexia and other publications, and won the Orange/NW short story award. https://www.michellegallen.com/
“[A] sensational debut… Gallen’s effortless immersion into a gritty, endlessly bittersweet world packs a dizzying punch.”—Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
“I loved Majella from the first page. Our relatable heroine jumps off the page like an old friend. Utterly brilliant and deliciously hilarious! With humor, wit and beauty, Gallen subtly unveils a violence and conflict that lies beneath, exploring the legacy of the Troubles and the deeply felt effects through generations.”
—Christy Lefteri, author of The Beekeeper of Aleppo
“Big Girl, Small Town is a darkly funny, big-hearted novel about feeling ordinary in a tumultuous world. Set in Northern Ireland just after the Troubles, this novel is wildly charming, relatable, and downright addicting. Despite a life full of political and personal ruin, heroine Majella O’Neill is an extraordinary force of light fighting to figure it all out. Perfectly delightful and incredibly moving, you won’t be able to put this book down.”—Crissy Van Meter, author of Creatures