Starting in the tranquil idyll of a Donegal village in 1915, The Family on Paradise Pier follows the extraordinary journeys of one Irish family through the War of Independence, the General Strike in Britain, the dangerous streets of 1930’s Moscow, the Spanish Civil War and on to Soviet gulags, Irish Internment camps and London during the Blitz. The Goold Verschoyle children are born into a respected freethinking Protestant family in a Manor House alive with laughter, debate and fascinating guests. But the world of picnics and childish infatuations is soon under threat as political changes within Ireland and the wider world encroach upon their private paradise.

The Family on Paradise Pier shows how quickly a family and a class can find themselves displaced and considered foreigners within their own land, with a new generation forced to invent new roles in which to belong. For Eva the dream is to be an artist, yet her fragile vision cannot cope with first love or the reality of London art school. She finds herself married into a stiff Anglo-Irish family, struggling with growing debts and with trying to keep open her soul to the new perceptions while yearning for personal freedom.

Politics is how Eva’s brothers make sense of their new world. The eldest son, Art, rejects his inheritance to become a hard-line Marxist. Isolating himself from his family, he tries to belong among the poor, a party agitator working as a manual labourer in Dublin, Moscow and London. Brendan, the carefree and less fanatical younger brother, also embraces communism until confronted by its harsh realities in the Spanish Civil War with consequences that will haunt and divide his family.

Based on real-life people, this family saga grows into an extraordinarily kaleidoscopic portrait of the lives, dreams and tensions of a generation finding their own paths in life between the World Wars. Bolger superbly recreates a family in flux, driven by idealism, racked by argument and united by love and the vivid memories of childhood. The Family of Paradise Pier shows Bolger at the height of his powers as a master storyteller. It is a spellbinding and magnificent achievement.



“Bolger has written his finest novel: his portrait of a lost Anglo-Irish world reaching out into every struggle of the twentieth century is fantastically adventurous.” - Sebastian Barry, Guardian.

“The novel unfolds with the graceful skill for which Bolger is remarkable.” - Sunday Telegraph

“Possibly his finest achievement... whether he’s capturing the slums of Dublin or the pain of a missed opportunity in love, Bolger’s writing simply sings.” - Sunday Business Post

The Family on Paradise Pier places Bolger on a new level... the writer is a remarkable storyteller.” - Irish Book Review

“A remarkable novel... The Family on Paradise Pier attests to his being unequivocally one of the best living Irish novelists.” - Village Magazine

'Bolger has never written better... the richness of Sheila Fitzgerald's experience and the obvious warmth that developed between them adds a special dimension to this remarkable book.' - Scottish Sunday Herald



ISBN NO: 0007154100

PUB DETAILS: The Family on Paradise Pier is also published in French as Toute la Famille sur la Jetee du Paradis (Editions Joelle Losfeld) and in Italian as Figli del Passato (Fazi Editore). All other rights are available.


To read Dermot Bolger’s account of writing The Family on Paradise Pier click here:


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