“The same dream has haunted me for some years, the dream that I have killed someone...” So begins the strange tale of Michael McMahon, a tale that is almost an emotional detective story – a search through a man’s ghosts and dreams using loss and memory for clues and with both real and imaginary corpses.

At the beginning there is a lonely but enchanted boyhood in Dublin. Then, having lost an unseen father to the sea and his desperately loved mother through cancer, Michael embarks upon a troubled adolescence: a few brief months in England spent with his glamorous but distracted aunt, Emily, then the return to Ireland, and manhood.

Throughout his life Michael is running, both running away and running to keep up with his own emotional turbulence, a dark confusion and a curious obsession with high-heeled shoes. For Michael is a man who loves women’s shoes: obscure objects of desire which he chases and collects and sometimes even wears. This frightening and sometimes amusing fixation is the hidden centre of Michael’s life: a half understood symbol of the many things left unspoken and of a mourning that has been tragically suspended.


With a spare and ringing prose style, Dermot Bolger faultlessly evokes the world his novels have made peculiarly his own. It is a world of private and public Dublin, with its pubs and gardens and the city at night, and of modern times versus implausible miracles. Through his resonant world echo the commands of fear and religion, of madness and craving and the tragedy of time. But also, at the end of the puzzle, there is hope and a “real” miracle bringing one man’s moving passage towards a healing and a true reckoning with the past.”




“Lyrical, original and highly erotic.” - Time Out

“Emily’s Shoes is a truly beautiful book in its fluid, uncluttered prose style, in its graceful humour, in its searing portrait of a lost man” - Madeleine Keane, Sunday Independent.

“A sensuous melancholy pervades; a child’s impacted grief at his mother’s death and unacknowledged mourning for the father he never knew are rendered with painful accuracy” - Shena Mackay, Independent on Sunday.

“Emily’s Shoes is a quirky and beautifully written performance.” - John Banville, The European.

“The writing is so strong, so exact, so much the right colour for each moment and episode… triumphantly successful – bare, passionate, almost understating the almost unstatable.”The Financial Times

“An intelligent and gripping novel by a writer of frenetic energy and imagination.” - Ulick O’Connor, The Sunday Times



ISBN NO: 0670838179

PUB DETAILS: Emily’s Shoes was published by Penguin Books and is now out of print. All rights have reverted to the author and are available.


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