Jay adores his small daughter, Bonnie, and nothing matters more to him than being a good father. But Bonnie's traumatic birth puts an unbearable strain on his marriage with Shauna and the couple eventually separate. Struggling to cope with the separation from three-year-old Bonnie, Jay thinks constantly of his own mother who he hasn't seen since he fled Ireland a decade before.
Resolved to move forward, Jay finds himself a flat-share with two eccentric Kenyan businessmen, snags a role working on a documentary about the Millennium Dome (through 'Dublin Darren', an old laboring contact), and is utterly rigid in his commitment to Bonnie time.
Indeed, things might have even begun to look up were it not for the arrival of an old 'friend' from home. 'The Clappers' is six foot tall, four foot wide, built like several Guinness barrels strapped together, and is all, all woman. She means well, and she means to make everything right for Jay. But inevitably, she makes it wrong.
A helter-skelter dash to Ireland results in some brutal revelations on behalf of Jay's mother, and an inevitable return to London culminates in a midnight epiphany in the shadow of Tony Blair, The Queen, and Auld Lang Syne. Can Jay be a good father to Bonnie? Or is it too late?
The Fields was shortlisted for the Authors Club Best First Novel Award.
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 eleven years he has been a feature writer, critic and columnist.
The story unfolds like an action film with the beating heart of an intellectual rom-com. Jay's journey from young man to proper grown-up is told with tight, witty prose and deeply felt emotion — Melissa Katsoulis, The Times
It continues to amaze approximately no one here that's (Maher's) follow up- Last Night on Earth, is as wondrous as the first...Maher writes with an exuberance and inventiveness that makes his characters joyous things to behold . . . the novel is as delightful and challenging as it is heart-wrenching and honest — Esquire
A rowdy, compelling love story . . . At its heart, Last Night on Earth is the story of two people who are very much in love and should be together, but whose marriage buckles under the strain of having a baby who may or may not have a disability. Jay and Shauna's struggle makes for compelling reading, and their anxiety over the welfare of their precious child will find resonance with every parent. Maher writes most powerfully when he is depicting the big emotions, love in particular - romantic love, filial love, parental love, the love between friends — Guardian
The result is not unlike a winningly unhinged version of David Nicholls's One Day. It also ranks among the most enjoyable novels of the year so far — James Walton, Reader's Digest
Exhilarating . . . the extraordinary love Jay feels for his daughter Bonnie tethers the story, and as Jay gets further mired in disaster, it's not so much the clock ticking down to Millennium Eve that builds the momentum but the question of whether Jay will be able to remake his family — Daily Mail
Extremely funny but between the comedy and verbal gymnastics, there are moments which are intensely moving and Maher accurately captures the thin line which most new parents tread between overwhelming love and complete terror. This funny, witty and compelling novel is a rollercoaster of a read — Daily Express
It's great and it's funny - I took to reading a particular paragraph on p. 15 to everyone passing — Sunday Herald
If all of this seems fearsomely complicated, don't worry: Maher handles his myriad ingredients with an impressive lightness of touch. Last Night on Earth is an old-fashioned, plot-heavy sort of book, the kind of novel that speeds by in a rush of incident and vividly-rendered characters. You look up and a hundred pages have gone by, almost without you having noticed . . . Last Night on Earth is a big, warm-hearted book, funny and touching . . . bursting with anecdotes, gossip, flashbacks, bedtime stories, confessions, jokes, and allusions to movies and philosophers: entertainment, in other words. This is very impressive work from a writer to watch — Sunday Business Post
On page 1, in 1996, Bonnie tumbles chaotically into the world; reflecting this, Maher's prose has a frantic, uterine echo of Eimear McBride's Girl ("birthy splatlets and baby driplets") but quickly gives way to Jay's voice. And what a voice: the book pivots around him, and from the moment he opens his mouth Jay is a whirling dervish of a character. Kinetic, relentlessly verbal and hard to dislike, he is a memorable rogue . . . Last Night on Earth thrums with energy; the dialogue is slickly moulded, making music of expletives and colloquialisms, and may owe a debt to the fact that Maher is also a film critic. This is a very funny picaresque, unafraid of its emotional core. Jay deserves a place on the big screen — Irish Times
An authentic word wizard . . . this punchy read takes you where you want to go — Irish Independent
Wonderful . . . written with a wicked sense of humour that almost, but not quite, disguises the fact that at the heart of this fabulous, funny, sad, crazy journey is a love story — Good Book Guide
Paternal love pulses through the pages, and the heartaches of trying for a baby and of being a parent as well as a loving (and losing) a parent are underscored by detail and wit — Financial Times