Rockadoon Shore by Rory Gleeson

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Rockadoon Shore by Rory Gleeson

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Category: General Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Luke Marlowe
Reviewed by Luke Marlowe
Summary: A tense story of a weekend spent in a remote cottage in Ireland, Rockadoon Shore explores the heady days of a youth fuelled by drugs, alcohol and hormones, but also provides a reflective look at aging and the grief of missed opportunities.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 304 Date: January 2017
Publisher: John Murray
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1473634077

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Cath is worried about her friends. DanDan is struggling with the death of his ex, Lucy is drinking way too much and Steph has become closed off. A weekend away is just what they need. They travel out to Rockadoon Lodge, to the wilds in the west of Ireland. But the weekend doesn't go to plan. JJ is more concerned with getting high than spending time with them, while Merc is humiliated and seeks revenge. And when their elderly neighbour Malachy arrives on their doorstep in the dead of night with a gun in his hands, nothing will be the same again for any of them...

Rory Gleeson is an Irish writer, now based in Canada. Rockadoon Shore is his first novel, and his vivid depiction of youth and age in the Irish countryside is an immensely strong debut.

I'm sure we've all had weekends away with friends - I'm sure most of us still go on them. And whilst they're normally hugely fun getaways, I'm sure many of us had weekends where a little tension creeps in - whether through boredom, claustrophobia or induced by alcohol...Gleeson depicts the frustrations of such a weekend in excruciating detail, offhand comments becoming rows, drunken games getting out of hand, and sexual tensions leading to mistakes, fights and unwelcome home truths. The fact that Gleeson focuses on a group of students in his tale means that the themes of love, loss, jealousy and sexuality become even more heightened - the fiery passions and follies of youth making the characters volatile and unpredictable - yet relatable all the same. When elderly neighbour Malachy arrives on their doorstep with a gun, the book takes a dramatic shift, and Malacy is a compelling counterpoint to the young case. Old, alone and trapped in thoughts of his own youth, Malachy provides a compelling character, a distraction from the misadventures of the main group, and a man whose actions send the plot in very unexpected directions...

Despite switching viewpoints between the various characters on a regular basis, some remain relative mysterious to the reader, their actions remaining unpredictable and unexplained. It's no bad thing - for me it was a strong style choice that only heightens the dramatic tension even more, and helps to leave the book on a suitably open note. Filled with fascinatingly real characters and a plot as twisting as the remote Irish roads upon which it's set, Rockadoon Shore is an incredibly strong debut by author Rory Gleeson - many thanks to the publishers for the copy.

For further reading I recommend Rooms by Lauren Oliver - a book filled with tension, drama, and surprises...

Buy Rockadoon Shore by Rory Gleeson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Rockadoon Shore by Rory Gleeson at

Buy Rockadoon Shore by Rory Gleeson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Rockadoon Shore by Rory Gleeson at


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