The First Day
by Phil Harrison ePUB
Set in Ireland and New York, a debut novel about an affair and its explosive consequences—the sins of the father visited on the son in unexpected and irreversible ways
‘Terrific . . . it is expanding and expanding all the time, like its own model universe – I just think it is pretty marvellous’ Sebastian Barry
‘In true Belfast style, Phil Harrison has planted a flag. The First Day is not just a novel, it’s a declaration, full worthy of salute’
‘Crisp, spare, lean and compelling’
Patrick McCabe, author of The Butcher Boy
‘An age-old story of forbidden love, given fresh resonance against the backdrop of the fractured, changing but still deeply conservative society that is contemporary Northern Ireland . . . Phil Harrison illuminates a people – a place – seeking to escape from itself, seeking transfiguration, but desperately bound to what has gone before’
Outside an east Belfast mission hall, pastor and family man Samuel Orr meets Anna, a young Beckett scholar. They embark on an intense, passionate affair, their connection fueled by their respective love of Christ and Beckett. When Anna falls pregnant the affair is revealed. The repercussions are slow to emerge but inescapable, and the fallout when it finally comes is shocking, cruel, and violent. Over thirty years later Sam, their son, is in New York, living a steady, guarded life, his childhood and family safely abandoned. But the sins of the fathers are visited often on their children, and the past crashes into his life as violently as in his youth. He is forced to confront the fears he has kept close all these years.
The First Day is the story of an affair and its consequences—on family and on faith. It is an intense, questioning novel of the search to understand our origins and to free ourselves from the burdens of our early years. It’s a stunning debut, meditative and compelling, incantatory, at times devastating and always mesmerizing.