'I devoured this, falling in love with the setting and with every character - and when I reached the end, I wept. It is just glorious. A sweeping family safe and, at the same time, a close-up on the everyday beautiful details that make up love' Emma Flint, author of Little Deaths
When we met we were such untethered spirits floating through the world, as if one of us might drift away if we didn't hold hands tightly. We were imperfect people, who fitted perfectly together.
On an island off the west coast of Ireland the Moone family gathers, only to be shattered by tragedy. Murtagh Moone is a potter and devoted husband to Maeve, an actor struggling with her most challenging role yet - mother to their four children. Now Murtagh must hold his family close as we bear witness to their story before that night.
We return to the day Maeve and Murtagh meet, outside Trinity College in Dublin, and watch how one love story gives rise to another. As the Moone children learn who their parents truly are, we journey onwards with them to a future that none of the Moones could predict.
Except perhaps Maeve herself.
The Truth Must Dazzle Gradually is a celebration of the complex, flawed and stubbornly optimistic human heart.
PRAISE FOR THE LOST LETTERS OF WILLIAM WOOLF
SHORTLISTED FOR NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR, IRISH BOOK AWARDS 2018
'This life-affirming book will draw you in and keep you there' Independent
'Delightful' Sunday Times
'Enchanting, intriguing, deeply moving' Irish Times
'Captivates. Honest yet lyrical, Cullen's characters are drawn with sympathy. Lose yourself' The Scotsman
PRAISE FOR THE LOST LETTERS OF WILLIAM WOOLF SHORTLISTED FOR NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR, IRISH BOOK AWARDS 2018 'This life-affirming book will draw you in and keep you there' Independent 'Delightful' Sunday Times 'Enchanting, intriguing, deeply moving' Irish Times 'Captivates. Honest yet lyrical, Cullen's characters are drawn with sympathy. Lose yourself' The Scotsman
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Average rating from 31 members
I laughed and cried along with this book. Some amazing characters,who filled the pages with love,grief and real feelings of family and belonging. I can't wait yo buy it for a few people.
The pain and suffering of mental health is not easily talked about yet in this book, it was handled with real feeling and sensitivity. My heart ached for the anguish felt by Maeve, as she constantly battled with her inner demons. It is a beautifully crafted story. It is in parts heartbreakingly sad and yet at the end we find love and peace at last. The subjects in this book are very current and sometimes sensitive and were handled beautifully. It left me feeling very moved and more aware of the silent suffering that goes on. This is a book that should be read and shared with others. It may be fiction but there is a lot to be learned from it. Beautiful.
Helen Cullen is the author of last year’s bestseller The Lost Letters of William Wolf, that I was totally capitaved by, so I jumped at the chance to read her second novel, The Truth Must Dazzle Gradually. This book starts on Christmas Eve 2005, on the Irish Island Ines Óg, when the Moone family suffer a tragedy that will change their lives forever and fracture their family. The plot then goes back to when Maeve ane Murtagh meet in Dublin, fall in love and move to the beautiful Ines Óg where Murtag works as a potter. We follow their story, the birth of their children, their ups and downs that ultimately conclude on that fatal night in 2005 and it’s lasting effects. A poignant tale of love, loss, family and forgiveness this is an wonderful and emotive read. At the moment the subject of mental health is very much at the forefront of our society, with more understanding and help than ever before. The Truth Must Dazzle Gradually is an honest, raw and powerful portrait of how mental health can effect a family as well as the individual, at a time before it was really understood or talked about. Maeve is at the heart of this story, a drama student, feminist, wife and mother who is always followed by what she calls an ‘Old Crow’. The honesty and empathy in Helen Cullen’s writing of Maeve’s depression broke my heart; the image painted was powerful. I think many readers will identify with some of Maeve’s experiences as she questions herself as a wife, a mother and role model for her children. But what I found just as moving was how Helen Cullen then showed how this effected Murtagh, and their children Nollaig, twins Mossy and Dillon and Sive as well; how it ould disrupt their lives, always tryng to gauge the mood of the house, and having others calling their mother ‘mad’. Like The Lost Letters of William Wolf this is a very character driven novel, and Maeve, Murtagh and their family really got under my skin in a good way. Murtagh and Maeve are soulmates, and Murtagh blames himelf for bringing Maeve to the small desolate Island where she had to give up her acting dream to become a wife and mother. His love for Maeve shines through this book, his empathy and tenderness towards her when she is unwell is really touching. He is also a natural father, making sure his children are looked after epecially during Maeve’s illness. All four of the children are aware of their mother’s depression, but there is a lack of conversation around it, their father trying to protect them actually does more harm and causes more resentment. Little does he realise that his family are as fragile as the pots he makes in the kiln, and that it can fracture at any time. Helen Cullen’s focus on the family, showing how destructive mental illness can be, is refreshing and authentic. This book is not all dark, there is plenty of light and humour along the way, especially when the children were growing up. The beautiful and rugged landscape of Ines Óg, with it’s craggy rocks, beautiful flowers and green landscape is a stunning setting for this book. Helen Cullen includes the social and cultural ways of the islanders, their suspicion of strangers, their old wives tales, the weekly dances enjoyed by Maeve’s eldest daughter Nollaig and most importantly the sense of community. Love and romance, is also an important part of this book in it’s many different guises; familial, romance and friendship, all of which have the power to help heal and bring people together; the glue that will hold the Moones together. The Truth Must Dazzle Gradually is a story of tragedy, loss but also hope. Helen Cullen’s portrait of a family dealing with mental illness and loss is authentic, raw but perfectly done. I am not someone who cries at books as a rule, but I have to say I found the end of this book so moving I had a tear run down my cheek. This is a breathtaking and inspiring read and one that is going to stay with me for quite a while; simply stunning!!