A big-hearted, funny and sad novel about the messiness of love, family and belief
LONGLISTED FOR THE DESMOND ELLIOTT PRIZE
SHORTLISTED FOR IRISH NOVEL OF THE YEAR AWARD
‘Hilarious and timely, a dazzling debut’ John Boyne
‘Bustling, bubbly, bittersweet fun’ Daily Mail
‘Bulging, big-hearted, a pleasure to read’ Irish Times
‘Dazzling. A novel of epic ambition yet intimate in scope’ Literary Review
‘Think Zadie Smith. But much funnier’ Sunday Independent
‘Very moving, highly entertaining, clever and funny’ Sunday Times (Ireland)
‘Funny, warm and full of heart’ Image Magazine
In 1979 Bridget Doyle has one goal left in life: for her family to produce the very first Irish pope. Fired up by John Paul II’s appearance in Phoenix Park, she sprinkles Papal-blessed holy water on the marital bed of her son and daughter-in-law, and leaves them to get on with things. But nine months later her daughter-in-law dies in childbirth and Granny Doyle is left bringing up four grandchildren: five-year-old Peg, and baby triplets Damien, Rosie and John Paul.
Thirty years later, it seems unlikely any of Granny Doyle’s grandchildren are going to fulfil her hopes. Damien is trying to work up the courage to tell her that he’s gay. Rosie is a dreamy blue-haired rebel who wants to save the planet and has little time for popes. And irrepressible John Paul is a chancer and a charmer and the undisputed apple of his Granny’s eye – but he’s not exactly what you’d call Pontiff material.
None of the triplets have much contact with their big sister Peg, who lives over 3,000 miles away in New York City, and has been a forbidden topic of conversation ever since she ran away from home as a teenager. But that’s about to change.