The launch of a major new literary voice in Irish/British fiction: set in 1980s Dublin and London, The Fields tells the vividly evocative story of Jim Finnegan's unfairly interrupted adolescence and is one of the Waterstones 11 for 2013, a list of the chain's best fiction debuts.
Kevin Maher was born and brought up in Dublin, moving to London in 1994 to begin a career in journalism. He wrote for the Guardian, the Observer and Time Out and was film editor of the Face until 2002, before joining The Times where for the last eight years he has been a feature writer, critic and columnist.
It's not often, reading a first novel, that you can settle back with a happy sigh, confident that you're in safe hands. The narrator of Kevin Maher's debut, 13-year-old Jim Finnegan, hits his comic stride straight away, and doesn't let up for a minute . . . With pin-sharp period detail and a frenetic comic energy, this Irish debut is a laugh-out-loud read . . .Thrust into extremity, Jim retains that childlike combination of innocence and enthusiasm that can make even daily existence seem larger-than-life: The Fields glows larger still. Fresh, beguiling and laugh-out-loud funny on every page, this must be the most enjoyable Irish novel since Skippy Dies — Guardian - Justine Jordan
Heartbreaking and hilarious in equal measures . . . the relationship with the most profound effect on him - with his father - is the least dramatic but it's so quietly devastating it had me in tears . . . I couldn't put it down. And for someone like me - a slow reader with a short commute - that's really saying something — Stylist magazine
Rich in period detail, Kevin Maher's debut novel captures the spirit of the changing times in Ireland, and convincingly conveys all the exuberance, uncertainty and angst of being a teenage boy; it's funny and heart-warming. Maher is an engaging writer and this is a hugely enjoyable - and promising - debut — Daily Mail
Plunging you headlong into 80s Ireland, Kevin Maher's debut novel, The Fields is crazy mad, lyrical and unforgettable . . . [a] funny, moving, compelling and hugely original coming of age story . . . Don't miss this brilliant debut from a remarkable new voice — Red magazine
entertaining, often hilarious, touching and at times deeply troubling . . . There are some exquisite moments of comedy that anyone with a whiff of Irish heritage will immediately recognise . . . Jim's strength, humour and vibrancy flood the novel with an energy and optimism that will leave you warm inside. The Fields is a story about the messiness of family life, yes, but it is also, ultimately, a beautiful tribute to families everywhere that soldier on no matter what life throws at them — Sunday Express
Were Roddy Doyle to co-author a novel with Edward St. Aubyn, the results might look a lot like Kevin Maher's gloriously ribald debut, The Fields. Taking the former's mastery of Irish demotic and the latter's peculiar talent for unearthing gallows humour in the most upsetting of personal tragedies, Maher's picaresque tale certainly packs a punch . . . Maher's fearless and heartwarming prose is simply too lovely to resist — Metro
Black comedy and infinite narrative energy . . . Maher's writing is immediate, highly descriptive and unflinching . . . reminiscent of some of Patrick McCabe's work. The Fields is a clever novel and operates on many levels. Highly accessible, it wears its ideas lightly . . . Jim . . . begins to believe that he might be a healer himself. The belief leads to a beautiful and extraordinary conclusion. Jim's healing - or redemption - doesn't seem inauthentic; and nor does it negate what he has suffered because, from the outset, Maher has made space for the seemingly impossible' — Sunday Business Post, Ireland
When my friend said this was the best book he's ever read I had pretty high expectations and it didn't disappoint . . . utterly captivating. If you're a fan of Chris O'Dowd's Moone Boy then this is definitely for you — U magazine, Ireland
a powerful comic debut — Sunday Times
magic and weirdly moving — The Times
very funny, infected with the rueful mirth of memory. Maher has built the serious underlying novel from the comedy of childhood in Ireland — Irish Examiner