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Summary

Academy Street is the heart-breaking and evocative story of one woman’s life spanning six decades. Tess’s childhood in 1940’s rural Ireland is defined by the sudden death of her mother. Later, in New York, she encounters the ferocious power and calamity of love, and the effects of catastrophic fate.

The novel resonates with the rhythms of memory and home as well as those of America’s greatest city. This is an intimate story about unexpected gifts and unbearable losses, and the perpetual ache for belonging. It is exquisitely written and profoundly moving.

©2014 Mary Costello (P)2014 Audible Studios

Critic reviews

"I read Academy Street cover to cover in one night, unable to stop. It is a short novel about a long life, stretching from rural Ireland to post-9/11 New York, and brings to mind the elegance of Colm Toibin and the insight of Alice Munro. Its stealthy, quiet power will exert a hold over any reader" (Maggie O'Farrell)
"Mary Costello's writing has the kind of urgency that the great problems demand - call them themes; they are the kind of problems that make a writer" (Anne Enright, The Guardian)
"Exquisite . . . so intricately wrought, so unique and enthralling as to be utterly bewitching" (Lorraine Courtney, Sunday Independent)
"These stories want all of you, mind and body and soul, like a consummation" (Sonya Chung, The Millions)
“a markedly brave book, an unblinking attempt to recreate a life of intense ordinariness and make it special…well worth applauding” (The Sunday Times)
“Extraordinarily compelling” (The Guardian)
“Exceptional” (The Times)
“Mary Costello is a very gifted writer and this is a beautifully written novel” (Irish Independent)

What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Tess

It was a brilliant book. Tess is an unforgettable character. The story enthralled me and moved me with it's passion.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Not recommended!!

This is quite possibly the most depressing novel I have ever encountered! Sorry but I really couldn't recommend it . If the descriptions are supposed to make up for storyline then it succeeded! Having tried to submit this review I am forced to give it some sort of star rating - however - I would have preferred to leave it blank!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Coming home to Ireland

Unlike my predessor I liked the book. But I have to admit whilst listening to the first chapters or so I was wondering it was the book I downloaded. However, when it emerged that Tess emigrated to the US her story kept me engrossed, reminded me sort of Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt and/or Nora Webster by Colm Tóibín. A great debut novel I couldn't put down.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Promising but doesn't deliver

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

The narrator was great but the story just didn't live up to my expectations at all.

What was most disappointing about Mary Costello’s story?

It was very dull

What about Melanie McHugh’s performance did you like?

Lovely voice

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment

1 of 1 people found this review helpful