I Could Read the Sky
By Timothy O'Grady and Steve Pyke
A new edition of the 1997 classic novel about an Irishman in London, told through words and photos.
Publication date: 22 June 2023Pre-order now
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‘Think about a tune … the unsayable, the invisible, the longing in music. Here is a book of tunes without musical notes … It wrings the heart’ John Berger
‘A masterpiece’ Robert Macfarlane
‘O’Grady does not just respond to Pyke’s stark, beautiful photographs: he gives voice to thousands’ Louise Kennedy
‘The experience of Irish emigration uniquely and powerfully illuminated’ Mark Knopfler
‘If the words tell the story of the voiceless, the bleak lovely photographs show their faces. Fiction rarely gets as close to the messy, glorious truth as do memories and photographs. This rare novel dares to use both’ Charlotte Mendelson, TLS
An old man lies alone and sleepless in London. Before dawn he is taken by an image from his childhood in the West of Ireland, and begins to remember a migrant’s life. Haunted by the faces and the land he left behind, he calls forth the bars and boxing booths of England, the potato fields and building sites, the music he played and the woman he loved.
Timothy O’Grady’s tender, vivid prose and Steve Pyke’s starkly beautiful photographs combine to make a unique work of fiction, an act of remembering suffused with loss, defiance and an unforgettable loveliness. An Irish life with echoes of the lives of unregarded migrant workers everywhere. Since it was first published in 1997, I Could Read the Sky has achieved the status of a classic.
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