Soldier Sailor: A Novel (Hardcover)

Soldier Sailor: A Novel By Claire Kilroy Cover Image

Soldier Sailor: A Novel (Hardcover)


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June 2024 Indie Next List

“Compelling, incredibly readable, and brought me immediately back to all the overwhelming feelings of the earliest days of motherhood. This book is stunning.”
— Laura Sharp, Literally, A Bookshop, Gilbert, AZ

Longlisted for The Women’s Prize

The Times (London) Novel of the Year * Named a Best Book of the Year by The Guardian, Financial Times, The Economist, The Irish Times, The Daily Telegraph (London), The New Statesman (UK), The Irish Independent, and The Independent

Award-winning author Claire Kilroy’s exquisite and provocative novel that reads with the pace of a thriller and is filled with astute and witty observations of life with a young child.

Claire Kilroy takes readers deep inside the early days of motherhood. Exploring the clash of fierce love with a seismic shift in identity, Kilroy conjures the raw, tumultuous emotions of a new mother, as her marriage strains and she struggles with questions of equality, autonomy, and creativity.

Soldier Sailor is a tale of boundless love and relentless battle, a bedtime story to a son, Sailor, recounting their early years together. Spending her days in baby groups, playgrounds, and supermarkets, Soldier doesn’t know who she is anymore. She hardly sees her husband, who has taken to working late most nights. A chance encounter with a former colleague feels like a lifeline to the person she used to be but can hardly remember.

Tender and harrowing, Kilroy’s modern masterpiece portrays parenthood in all its agony and ardent joy.
Claire Kilroy is the author of five novels including Soldier Sailor, All Summer, Tenderwire, and The Devil I Know. She was awarded the Rooney Prize in 2004 and has been shortlisted for many other prizes, including the Irish Novel of the Year and the Kerry Group Irish Fiction Award. She studied at Trinity College and lives in Dublin.
Product Details ISBN: 9781668051801
ISBN-10: 166805180X
Publisher: Scribner
Publication Date: June 4th, 2024
Pages: 240
Language: English
“The narrator’s wit, brutal honesty, and unsentimental love for her child set this book apart… a sharp, funny, often painful yet hopeful take on adjusting to motherhood.” Kirkus, Starred Review
“Virtuosic . . . a resonant and important book, vital in all senses of the word, a flare sent up from the shores of early motherhood, a lesson in surviving the wilderness.” Irish Times

“Not a word is wasted in this profound short novel . . . Soldier Sailor is a novel which is about time and language as much as parenthood . . . A stylistic whirlwind that left me breathless.” The Independent

“Claire Kilroy made me cry. The ending to her novel is beautiful, tender, noble even. A happy ending that makes you cry—surely that’s the best of both worlds. Kilroy makes a well-trodden subject feel original by combining literary skill with warmth, humor and wicked observations of everyday life. On nearly every page there was a sentence or an observation that I wanted to underline because it was funny, lovely or real.” The Times (UK)

“A whole-body experience . . . it comes at you full-throttle, as if delivered on a single breath. . . . [Read] alongside the likes of Helen Simpson, Rachel Cusk and Sarah Moss.” The Guardian

“Brilliant, brutally honest, very funny . . . A novel that immediately feels like the definitive work on modern motherhood, one that breaks every taboo.” The Sunday Times (UK)

“A novel about motherhood that captures the chaos, exhaustion, and almost unbearable moments of joy so perfectly. It’s very moving and also very funny.” —Paul Murray

“I'm not aware of another book like this... So touching, with a sense of tenderness and element of the mythological... a book that many women will enjoy and I think most men would not only benefit from but need badly.” Colm Toibin

“A scorching read, I could not put it down.” Anne Enright

“Intense, furious, moving and often extremely funny.” —David Nicholls

“Claire Kilroy manages to articulate something about motherhood and selfhood that I didn't think could be articulated. Parents especiallyread this novel.” Mary Beth Keane

“Every woman on earth will identify with this book. Every man will learn something urgent to his betterment. It sings with great authority about the wretched entrapment and molecular joy of motherhood.” —Sebastian Barry

“My favorite novel this year, Soldier, Sailor manages, extraordinarily, to capture the frayed nerves and frittered mind of a woman with a young child, trying to recalibrate after childbirth. Addressed to her infant son as he begins his maiden voyage, a woman stares at the narrowing margins of her world, trying to get a foothold. She undergoes a near-hallucinatory deprivation of self, a kind of dazzling blackout. This is the diamond-sharp story that lies beneath the peaceful, swaying bassinet; the story of the cataclysmic, earth-shaking shift of one life gone off the rails just as another is set on its tracks.” —Sarah Blakley-Cartwright, author of Alice Sadie Celine

“A searing portrait of the early years of parenting… Kilroy succeeds in offering readers a glimpse into motherhood that feels as primal as it is poetic, a brilliant reflection of how impossibly enormous all emotions become in the transition into motherhood. Raw and honest, Soldier Sailor will leave readers white-knuckled at the end of an emotional roller-coaster of anguish and joy alike that perfectly encapsulates the extremes of becoming a parent.” Shelf Awareness