2020 Longlist

The Trick to Time


2020 Longlist

‘There’s a trick to time. You can make it expand or you can make it contract. Make it shorter or make it longer . . .’

Some moments you want to last forever. Some moments shape a life.

For Mona, it’s the joy of playing on a Wexford beach as a young girl, next to her family’s cottage overlooking the Irish Sea. The thrill of moving to Birmingham with a new job and a room of her own in a busy boarding-house. Meeting the love of her life; a whirlwind marriage; a sudden, tragic loss.

But now, decades later, Mona is determined to find happiness before it’s too late. She knows that every moment is precious. But can we ever let go of the past that shaped us?

About the Author

Kit de Waal, born to an Irish mother and Caribbean father, was brought up among the Irish community of Birmingham. Her debut novel My Name Is Leon was an international bestseller, shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award, long-listed for the Desmond Elliott Prize and won the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award for 2017.

Librarian’s Comments

The book that is occupying my mind most this year is ‘The Trick to Time’ by Kit de Waal. I have recommended it to several people and the response from them has also been very positive – and they are in turn recommending it. The writing is beautiful but very accessible. The story spans almost an entire lifetime – while being intimate rather than epic – though it does deal with the ‘big’ issues. The experience of being Irish in England was well portrayed I thought – as was the ageing process. The sense of loss was overwhelming at times – not just loss of life but loss of living. The sections with the ‘dolls’ was bordering on creepy – but managed to stay just this side of full gothic! My cynical mind gave up and I teared up several times. Paradoxically, it was at times light and funny – and overall full of good people making the best of terrible situations. A very human book. Dublin City Libraries, Ireland

de Waal




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