In Ordinary Time

Fragments of a Family History

This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Buy on Amazon Buy on Waterstones.com
*This page contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app

1
To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add kindle@netgalley.com as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
2
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date 1 Feb 2024 | Archive Date 8 Feb 2024

Talking about this book? Use #InOrdinaryTime #NetGalley. More hashtag tips!


Description

A multi-layered exploration of trauma, grief and addiction that will captivate readers of Notes to Self and Small Things Like These

In 1993, aged twenty, Carmel Mc Mahon left Ireland for New York, carrying two suitcases and a ton of unseen baggage. It took years, and a bitter struggle with alcohol addiction, to unpick the intricate traumas of her past and present.

Candid yet lyrical, In Ordinary Time mines the ways that trauma reverberates through time and through individual lives, drawing connections to the events and rhythms of Ireland’s long Celtic, early Christian and Catholic history. From tragically lost siblings to the broader social scars of the Famine and the Magdalene Laundries, Mc Mahon sketches the evolution of a consciousness – from her conservative 1970s upbringing to 1990s New York, and back to the much-changed Ireland of today.

A multi-layered exploration of trauma, grief and addiction that will captivate readers of Notes to Self and Small Things Like These

In 1993, aged twenty, Carmel Mc Mahon left Ireland for New York...


Advance Praise

‘Mc Mahon’s personal story is the unifying strand in a bigger, constantly shifting narrative that explores complex cultural and historical terrain’ Sean O’Hagan, Observer

‘Absolutely gripping… in lucid prose that is both direct and lyrical, she burrows through layers of family history and Irish history’ Irish Times

'A vivid, evocative and resonant counterpoint of time, memory and meaning' Joseph O'Connor, award-winning author of Shadowplay

‘A beautiful memoir’ Ryan Tubridy, RTÉ Radio 1

‘A raw, urgent book, its narrative stretched across the year, from Imbolc (the Feast of St Brigid) to Samhain, as it traces love, loss and all else. An extraordinary debut already being likened to Doireann Ni Ghríofa’s A Ghost in the Throat but this is shaped by its own hauntings’ RTÉ

'Stunning. A work of great emotional and intellectual heft… Truth and honesty shine out of every line’ Mary Costello, author of Academy Street

'Provocative yet dazzling... A mesmerising work threaded with rich veins of history and heart' Sophie White, Irish Independent

‘Beautiful, compelling, thought-provoking… An uncompromising reflection on what it means to be of Irish heritage today, whether at home or abroad’ Tara Flynn

‘Painfully familiar in its account of family loss and trauma in the urban working class, and personal enough never to feel like a survey or aerial view of Irish women’s history. Sensitively written and quietly devastating, it’s the book I had been waiting for’ Niamh Campbell, award-winning author of This Happy

'In Ordinary Time is the best kind of memoir, a braid of the personal and political, the spiritual and global' Cameron Dezen Hammon, award-winning author of This is My Body

'Magnificent... Spare, pristine, bracing – a marvellous book' Carlo Gébler, author of Confessions of a Catastrophist

'Quietly addictive, deeply moving and enlightening' Priscilla Morris, author of Black Butterflies

‘A beautifully-written memoir. It’s a deeply personal, largely confessional work, in which McMahon ties together strands of her life in New York and Ireland with elements from mythology and history, particularly the often horrific history of Irish women. Anyone who has ever emigrated from Ireland will recognise her compelling descriptions of separation from family and land, the freedom that emigration offers – and the enormous loss’ Jaki McCarrick, author of Belfast Girls

‘We can move consciously towards healing. And we can begin by talking. In Ordinary Time is that conviction in action... a must read’ Olivia Cole

‘The peace I discovered reading In Ordinary Time came from the reminder that the cycles we’re all in can be broken, and they can also be repaired’ Maeve Higgins, Irish Examiner

‘The fragments of her New York life seem carefree alongside the shocking events endured by her family in this beautifully crafted memoir which left me wanting more’ The Gloss Magazine

'Carmel's book is so intelligent, yet so accessible' Grace Bailey, host of San Clemente podcast

‘Mc Mahon’s personal story is the unifying strand in a bigger, constantly shifting narrative that explores complex cultural and historical terrain’ Sean O’Hagan, Observer

‘Absolutely gripping… in...


Available Editions

EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9780715655184
PRICE £9.99 (GBP)
PAGES 256

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (EPUB)
Send to Kindle (EPUB)
Download (EPUB)

Average rating from 10 members


Featured Reviews

IN ORDINARY TIME is an adept and emotionally evocative narrative that interweaves personal memoir, genealogy, and Irish cultural history to examine generational trauma. Are our miseries destined because of genetics? Can we escape grief if our ancestors couldn't escape it themselves? Mc Mahon never asks for pity when detailing the horrible sadness she and her family have endured, both past and present. ORDINARY TIME is a family's intimate history. Still, it's also a fiercely political work that examines how capitalism and colonialism are often to blame when considering how we cope in a world built on oppression and violence. Truly a gem of a read: thought-provoking, tender, and intelligent.

Was this review helpful?

An interesting memoir about McMahon’s life as a recovering alcoholic, and her move from Dublin to New York. This also deals with her family history, particularly the tragedies surrounding the life of one of her siblings, and his mental illness.

This is thought-provoking in that it deals with Irish history as well - especially towards the end of the book.

I wasn’t sure how McMahon managed to live in New York and what she did for work - she doesn’t really deal with such things, perhaps eschewing details in favour of other experiences.

Thank you to Net Galley for the ARC.

Was this review helpful?

I certainly will be on the lookout for future writing by Carmel McMahon. Several times her sentences reminded me of a stone skipping over water...graceful and ongoing. This is an extremely personal book but not quite a memoir. The theme, in my perception, is grief, loss, and the effect parent's traumas have on children even if the children weren't born at the time of the event. The latter belief is becoming more widely researched, although it's still mostly anecdotal. Bessel van der Kolk has been writing for years about this, most recently in his best-selling The Body Keeps the Score which the author cites. McMahon's mother suffered a tragedy while pregnant with the author who has come to wonder if somehow she took the mother's pain into her own body. Not hard to believe, but one must also recognize the sense of tragedy that overhung the family throughout the childhoods of eight McMahon children, six of whom were younger than the author. The children fully sensed things that triggered the mother's desperate sadness and did their best to protect her from any reminders. So, yes, it is very possible that they came into the world with an imprint of tragedy that was reinforced by the atmosphere in their home.
The author also beautifully explores the possible imprints of long-ago ancestors with their embodiment of the Celtic experience of nature and the meaning of life. I particularly liked the description of the Irish measurement of time and seasons before the imposition of Greenwich Mean Time. I also loved McMahon's exploration of St. Brigid and her beliefs and practices...and it's no wonder Irish women especially are devoted to her.
The author's siblings have struggled with alcoholism, depression, and, in once case, severe mental illness. Her experiences with the first two are a central theme of the book. She wonders how much is DNA or prenatal effects or growing up in a sad family. I think: all of them. The Irish have retained a sense of the mystical and a perception of "thin places" which may have existed in other old cultures but have been lost. I can't be objective. My own Irish family is very like the author's and some still believe strongly in the presence and guidance of ancestors and the ineffable energies that are so hard to hear and feel in our loud modern society.
Readers who are recently bereaved or suffering a strong sense of loss from whatever source may consider postponing reading this excellent book. The author"s experiences are palpable, and I, for one, had to take breaks here and there.
I hope Ms. McMahon will bless us with more writing about her life. She is a gifted communicator and artist.

Was this review helpful?

Will be recommending this book wholeheartedly, it‘s one of those treasures I read in digital form and feel like I need a physical copy of to put on a shelf, to thumb through every now and then to remind myself what it meant at the time reading and what continues to mean.

History is so much more than dates and facts - and this memoir feels like that exact „so much more“.

Was this review helpful?

In 1993, aged twenty, Carmel Mc Mahon left Ireland for New York, carrying $500, two suitcases and a ton of unseen baggage. It took years, and a bitter struggle with alcohol addiction, to unpick the intricate traumas of her past and present.
Candid yet lyrical, In Ordinary Time mines the ways that trauma reverberates through time and through individual lives, drawing connections to the events and rhythms of Ireland’s long Celtic, early Christian and Catholic history. From tragically lost siblings to the broader social scars of the Famine and the Magdalene Laundries, Mc Mahon sketches the evolution of a consciousness – from her conservative 1970s upbringing to 1990s New York, and back to the much-changed Ireland of today.

Was this review helpful?

An intimate raw look at the authors life.She shares her move from Ireland to New York the effects of drinking in her world.This is so lyrically written so much history of her family to absorb.Will be recommending the author and the book.#netgalley #duckworth

Was this review helpful?

This is an honest yet thoughtful autobiography about alcohol abuse, mental illness, big dreams and persistence. Through trial and error the author tells about her journey to America and unpacking all the baggage she brought not only hers with that of her siblings and family members. I really enjoyed this book as much as you can enjoy once trauma and found inspiration to really had to go to the depths of despair and came out shining. A great example of not giving up in the American dream. I received this book from NetGalley and publisher but I am leaving this review voluntarily please forgive any mistakes as I am blind and dictate my review.

Was this review helpful?

In Ordinary Time by Carmel Mc Mahon is a beautifully written novel that explores the complexities of family relationships and the challenges of living in a small rural community in Ireland. Set in the 1960s, the book follows the lives of the O'Connor family as they navigate the joys and sorrows of everyday life.

Mc Mahon's writing is evocative and lyrical, and she captures the nuances of Irish rural life with great sensitivity and detail. The characters are vividly drawn, each with their own struggles and secrets, and the interactions between them are both poignant and authentic.

What sets In Ordinary Time apart from other novels is its exploration of the role of women in Irish society during the 1960s. The book offers a nuanced and insightful look at the challenges faced by women in a patriarchal society, and the ways in which they navigate these challenges with courage, resilience, and grace.

Overall, In Ordinary Time is a deeply moving and beautifully crafted novel that offers a compelling portrait of a community and a family struggling to find their place in the world. It is a testament to the power of love, hope, and forgiveness, and a reminder of the importance of compassion and understanding in our relationships with others. Highly recommended.

Was this review helpful?

Readers who liked this book also liked: