The Deadwood Encore

By Kathleen Murray

A brilliantly inventive and witty novel about legacy and birthright from Kathleen Murray, Ireland’s brightest new literary voice.

Frank Whelan is the seventh son of a seventh son, so by now should have inherited his father’s legendary healing power, but still hasn’t managed to graduate beyond small-time skin afflictions.

He already feels adrift when his twin, Bernie, reveals a life-changing decision that calls into question everything Frank thought he knew about his place in the family. And then he discovers his father had been keeping secrets of his own.

And so Frank turns to an unlikely source for guidance and finds himself on a quest for answers… from this world, and the next.

A boundlessly inventive novel about the past’s hold over the present, set in an Irish community alive with old magic and extraordinary possibility, The Deadwood Encore is an electrifying debut from one of Ireland’s most acclaimed short-fiction authors.

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I always thought it was fairly simple; you told a story through plain telling it, beginning, middle and end. Or if you had the talent maybe write it down with pen on paper. But I seen now there’s many a road leading into a tale and out. I’m in the strange position of being the pen and the paper; the ink running through it; the eye catching it; the mind reanimating the flat black and white into a spectacle. Once you try and shape a story, it’s like opening a door that’ll revive the past and rouse a future. Forget about the present, it disappears. Hard to describe, even to myself, but there’s some story needs to come out of all of this palaver. I thought I’d reached the end… thought that whatever happened or didn’t, wasn’t nothing to do with me anymore. Now I’m wondering is this the end of my own story or the start of someone else’s? Or are we all tangled up in a middle that goes on and on?

Format: Paperback
Release Date: 28 Apr 2022
Pages: 352
ISBN: 978-0-00-852419-7
Kathleen Murray was born in Carlow and educated at Trinity College Dublin. She has had short fiction published in The Stinging Fly, The Moth, Dublin Review, Prairie Schooner, Winter Papers, and various anthologies. In 2007 she was the first Irish winner of the Fish Short Story Prize. Her story ‘Storm Glass’ was a finalist for the 2011 Davy Byrne Short Story Award. This is her first novel.

”'Brilliant, full of vitality and voice … Kathleen Murray is a masterful writer of dialogue.” - - KEVIN BARRY

”'A flat-out page-turner. There's so much here to delight in - fizzing dialogue, offbeat characters, flights of fancy and mad escapades […] Kathleen has the guts to take on what's miraculous and eerie, and spins Frank's story shrewdly, irreverently, and fondly.” - - LISA McINERNEY

”'So much to admire in The Deadwood Encore: a free-wheeling, demotic freshness of manner, a sustained emotional intensity - and a small Irish town brought to life with vividness and bone-dry wit. What a remarkable debut from Kathleen Murray.” - - NEIL HEGARTY

”The Deadwood Encore is a warm, thoughtful, funny novel from a wise, inventive and gifted new writer.” - - LIA MILLS