Something Bigger

Something Bigger

4.56 (18 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

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When fourteen-year-old Marcella Coyle leaves Ireland to join her brother, a parish priest in Alabama, she could not have foreseen the turmoil that lay ahead. Plunged into the tense cauldron of the early twentieth century's Deep South, Marcella struggles to understand her outspoken brother and his perilous refusal to alter his mission even as the KKK takes to the streets, spewing hatred at minorities and Catholics. As she strives to rescue some meaning out of her exile in this foreign land, Marcella is swept up into a dangerous friendship, with consequences that shock the city and make an indelible mark on history.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 306 pages
  • 140 x 216 x 18mm | 390g
  • English
  • 1940209439
  • 9781940209432
  • 36,915

Review quote

"This is a stunning, intensely engaging novel by a consummate storyteller. It's tense and gripping and beautifully written in restrained, elegant, crystalline prose. This is a book that I would eagerly recommend to any reader, anywhere."

-Donal Ryan, author of From a Low and Quiet Sea

"With a most appealing protagonist and a deft literary talent, Sheila Killian brings us a story to make us cry and make us think. Compelling, intriguing and skillful."

- Liz Nugent, author of Unraveling Oliver, Lying in Wait, Skin Deep, and Our Little Cruelties

"Beautifully written and full of heart - Something Bigger tells us the story of Marcella and her brother Jimmy in a way that brings them vividly to life. We see their bonds to Ireland, and their loyalty to their new home in Alabama, we witness their strength, love and the power of words. This is an honest, lyrical and heart-warming novel that shines a light on what life was like for Marcella in Alabama, and gives us one of the warmest voices I've read in years."

-Niamh Boyce, author of The Herbalist, and Her Kind

"One heck of an impressive debut. Sheila Killian's writing voice is confident and brave. Everything rings true: characters, dialogue, location and story. It's a long time since I enjoyed a debut this much."

- Roisín Meaney, author of The Restaurant

"Something Bigger is a wonderful novel that takes complex and consequential moments from history and places them in a beautiful, almost intimate context. Drawing together universal themes of emigration, family, racism and social justice in a style that is at once compelling and lyrical, Sheila has written a novel that spans generations and yet feels extremely personal.

This book is a stunning reach into the past to explore moments we're living through in the present.

-Dan Mooney, Author of Me, Myself and Them, and The Great Unexpected

It's not just the compelling, tenderly-researched story that kept me turning the pages of Sheila Killian's debut novel Something Bigger. It's also the gorgeous, lyrical, multisensory writing. Page after page I was dazzled. Marcella is so fully formed and utterly believable that I wouldn't have been surprised if I'd looked up from the book and found her sitting beside me, writing that letter to her mother or quietly playing memories in her head 'preserved like candied orange peel, too sweet, too bitter to be real'. She will take your breath away. What a beautiful book.

- Sarah Moore Fitzgerald, author of The Apple Tart of Hope
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Rating details

18 ratings
4.56 out of 5 stars
5 67% (12)
4 22% (4)
3 11% (2)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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