It is 1950. Donegal. A land apart. Derry city is only fourteen miles away but too far, mentally, for people to travel there in comfort. Into this community comes Gianni, a painter from Italy.
A book of close observation, sharp wit, linguistic dexterity – and of deep sympathy for everyday humanity.
'The great spirit of Frank McGuinness radiates in this magnificent novel. Myriad voices converge on one glistening core; it is a high-wire act earthed in the deepest humanity.' Sebastian Barry
It is 1950. Donegal. A land apart. Derry city is only fourteen miles away but far beyond daily reach. Into this community comes Gianni, also called Giotto at his birth. A painter from Arrezzo in Italy, he has been commissioned to paint the Stations of the Cross. The young Italian comes with his dark skin, his unusual habits, but also his solitude and his own peculiar personal history. He is a major source of fascination for the entire community.
A book of close observation, sharp wit, linguistic dexterity – and of deep sympathy for ordinary, everyday humanity.
The great spirit of Frank McGuinness radiates in this magnificent novel. Myriad voices converge on one glistening core; it is a high-wire act earthed in the deepest humanity.
there’s a lovely sense of connection in reading this novel by the playwright McGuinness, a connection to the rest of the writer’s oeuvre … gorgeous … a challenging and rewarding read
invested with a weighty, parable-like intensity
prose that could be described as musical … it is hard not to be charmed … elegant and thoughtful, often funny, never dull or repetitive
curious, unique and unsettling ... this book demands and deserves to be approached on its own terms
a novel infused with an understanding of everyday life – the language laced with wit and McGuinness’ panache as a playwright evident in the story as each character takes to the stage
for a novel based in rural Ireland there is freshness to the remote Donegal setting … strikes an unusual note
this is McGuinness’s first novel after many years as a prolific and successful playwright. It is a transfer he makes with great ease … the structure of the book cleverly makes the most of his strengths and skills as a playwright. Each chapter gives a distinct voice its stage and each voice adds to the tale and nudges it along
I found it to be startling and memorable … likely to stay with you
a really wonderful book
builds to this heart-breaking finale
well-worth a read
an exceptional examination of family, religion and love
in his willingness to leave the rest unresolved … Frank McGuinness creates something both beautiful and new
an atmosphere of folklore pervades. Lyrical cadences reverberate in the phrasing and there is a profusion of symbolism … imbuing the novel's events with the uncanny aura of fable or myth
the strangeness of McGuinness's novel, the offbeat atmosphere and the narrative motility, certainly make it an intriguing piece of work. It is perhaps worth enduring bafflement to read a novel that is so defiantly unusual
distinctive and alive … arresting
a distinctively Irish book … echoes of Joyce
McGuinness the playwright has shown with Arimathea that he is also a novelist, and he has given us a substantial and intriguing book to contemplate and to remember
McGuinness’s montage of voices creates beautifully bleak first novel
a wonderfully unsympathetic portrait of an Irish town and its quietly suffering inhabitants
a beautifully thought-provoking piece of fiction
deeply funny about the absurdities of human behaviour
a powerful, passionate novel … quirky, authentic, often humorous voices
a Greek chorus of quirky, authentic, often humorous voices
A work of passion and truth, in which imaginative daring is matched by deep psychological insight.
Poetic and strange, elemental and truly original, Arimathea engages fearlessly with the mysteries of art and love.
Also by Frank McGuinness: