posted 2 Dec 2015, 10:58
What do Donegal, the Tunnel Tigers, Ireland in the 1960s and 70s, the Vietnam War, the Montreal Olympics and a coming of age tale have in common? They are just some of the ingredients that make up an inspired, debut novel from Seamus McCrudden, with a warm and absorbing storyline that will keep you guessing, right to the last page.
Published last year in paperback format by The Manuscript Publisher, it is now available in e-book editions from all of the major online e-book retailers, including Amazon (Kindle), Smashwords, Apple (iBooks), Barnes & Noble, Kobo, to name but a few.
Praise for Donegal Gymnasts has come from many sources since publication. Judging by readers' comments, its popularity and appeal would seem to stem mostly for its freshness of perspective and vision. McCrudden is not daunted by the challenge of telling a story in exactly the way that it needs to be told.
"A lovely story set in an era where life was simple yet vulnerable to loss and suffering," said one reader.
"A wonderful story that captures every possible emotion of Irish life, told in a unique fashion," was how another reader described it.
Certainly, it is a book that will resonate with Irish people of certain generations and the Irish emigrant experience is also well observed and documented - "a must for an exile's book shelf" said one favourable review. It is first and foremost however, a story that recommends itself because it works as a simple, yet carefully plotted and well-structured narrative about people who follow their dreams, no matter what obstacles they encounter. As an exploration of love and loyalty, it easily navigates its way across the contours of comedy, drama, romance, joy and sorrow, the journey from innocence to experience.
Jack and Jake, adopted twin brothers of Irish and Chinese descent, growing up in Donegal in the 1960s, discover a natural aptitude for gymnastics, which sets them apart and also sets them on paths that appear to lead to fame and fortune. The closer they get to their dreams, the more they realise that far off fields are not always green. Nevertheless, they persist and persevere, learning and drawing strength from both the highs and the lows, from their experiences of love and loss and all of the in-betweens. By the end, they are older and wiser but they have learned the true value of family, friendship, community and the network of support that these offer.
Seamus McCrudden hails from the famed county of Donegal, in the farthest reaches of Ireland's north west and continues to work and live there, with his wife and four daughters. He is well-known locally as a bus and taxi driver and says that his inspiration to write derives, in part, from the people whom he encounters during the course of his work. The rest has been due to training and advice that he as received through his participation in local writers and drama groups.
Donegal Gymnasts by Seamus McCrudden is on sale now, in print and e-book editions. The e-book edition (available in all of the popular formats including Kindle, ePub, PDF) is being launched at a special introductory price of US$2.99*. Copies of the print edition are also available, at the recommended retail price of €9.99 plus P&P.
More information on where you can buy Donegal Gymnasts by Seamus McCrudden is available from the website of The Manuscript Publisher, where you can also take the time to browse before you buy.
* Slight variations in price due to local taxes and currency exchange rates may occur