For Alison Gill, mother of three young children, her annual family holiday in Fitzgerald’s Hotel should be the same unblemished paradise she looks forward to every year. Especially as a recent health scare and a growing distance between herself and her husband has made her vulnerable and uneasy.
So when a work crisis forces her husband to return to Dublin, she is left angry and disappointed, and more susceptible than she would ever admit to the confusing emotions surrounding a chance encounter with an old flame. It is like being forced to sit a judgement on herself. Her present-day reality versus the image of her at twenty he has carried in his heart. Is this a turning point in her life, a chance to relive the passion and optimism of her youth? Or is the risk simply too great?
Bolger skilfully wraps a meditation on youth and ageing, memory and desire, inside this story of a woman taking a man’s secret grief onto her shoulders that are already heavy with guilt and unfulfilled longings. He brilliantly captures her emotional turmoil, her need to be made feel special again balanced against the risk of losing everything, her marriage and eventually even her life.
His portrait of Alison, a woman brought to life by his warmth and understanding, is simply stunning. Rarely does any male writer enter the head of a woman as assuredly as Bolger succeeds in this vivid story about family life, of the road less travelled and the end of youth. Told with the characteristic insight, verve and humour of a master storyteller, it weaves a web of conflicting emotions behind the deceptively simple story of five nights in an Irish hotel.
“Alison Gill stands on the cusp of middle age, assailed by doubts about her marriage and insecurities about her changing body. Her expectations of life have dwindled until they are all contained in the five-day break the family spends each year at Fitzgerald’s Hotel in Wexford. When her husband is suddenly recalled to Dublin, Alison’s longed-for holiday seems doomed, but the reappearance of old flame Chris Conway appears to offer possibilities. Whether Alison can or will offer Conway the succour he needs is revealed in a beautifully understated novel whose portrait of a self-doubting woman is handled with rare and sensitive perspicacity.” - Daily Mail
“It is rare that a man should be so adept and insightful at identifying the preoccupations of a mature woman and mother-of-three, but Bolger does just that in this tender, thoughtful novel.” - Harpers & Queen
“Addictive... a will-they-won’t-they adultery tale, told fast and furiously.” - Sunday Express
“Bolger is a master storyteller. Temptation surely establishes him as one of the leading Irtish novelists of the past quarter century.” - Irish Post
“This is the kind of powerfully involving novel that comes along only
rarely. Dermot Bolger's Temptation has as its central focus a family
encountering an emotionally turbulent time on an annual holiday in a hotel on the beautiful Southeast coast of Ireland. Bolger's heroine, Alison Gill, is the mother of three children taking a much-anticipated annual family holiday at Fitzgeralds' Hotel, one of the most celebrated in Ireland. All seems idyllic until Alison is thrown into confused memories of the past when her husband is forced by a work crisis to return to Dublin and she encounters the attractive, disturbing Chris. He's a lover from 20 years ago, and soon Alison is forced to confront the choices she has made in her life. Is what she considered to be happiness really what she wanted? And if
she gives in again to the sexual passion of her youth, will she find her real self--or destroy all that she has carefully built up? The canny reader will soon spot the presence of one of the finest writers in the English language as an inspiration for Bolger's highly assured novel. The Irish setting; a middle-aged woman dangerously attracted to a man who may be very bad news for her; the astonishingly sympathetic understanding of a female protagonist by a male writer: all of these are the hallmarks of the great William Trevor. But if the latter is an influence, Bolger is still very
much his own man. This is an immensely understanding and perceptive novel, with all the characters richly and quirkily characterised. His pièce de résistance, though, is his heroine: Alison is that rarity in modern fiction: a woman about whom the reader is allowed to frequently change their opinion. We are
alternately moved or irritated by her, but always we are firmly locked in her consciousness. The writing, too, has an elegance that always ensures a rich experience for the reader and reminds us that the author has edited The New Picador Book of Contemporary Irish Fiction.” - Amazon.co.uk Review:
ISBN NO: 0006552366
PUB DETAILS: Temptation is published by Flamingo/HarperCollins. It is published in German as Die Versuchung (Rotbuch/Sabine Groenewold Verlage) and in French as Tentation (Albin Michel). There is an unauthorised Hindi edition.
It has been adapted for BBC Radio 4 by the author. All other rights are available..