Carry Me Down won the Hawthornden Prize and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.
John Egan lives with his mother, father and grandmother in rural Ireland. This twelve year-old boy believes he has a unique talent and dreams of becoming a world-famous lie-detector-at almost any cost to himself and his family.
Carry Me Down is written in clean, compelling prose, and is about John's obsessive and dangerous desire to see the truth.
In this singular tale of disturbed love every word rings true. It's a psychological thriller that confirms M.J. Hyland's prodigious writing talents.
'I don't think I've ever read such a true book.' Hilary Mantel
A spare, piercing testimony to the bewilderment and resiliency of youth, Hyland's second novel (following How the Light Gets In) filters the adult world through the distressed lens of adolescence, which makes every change look like a test of survival. John Egan is an extremely tall 11-year-old boy living in the small town of Gorey, Ireland, with the moody triumvirate of his mother, father and grandmother. As he faces the trials of home and school life, John feels he has no place in the world, and his frustration fuels odd obsessions: with the Guinness Book of World Records, with physical human contact and with his "gift" for detecting lies. His parents, already sorting through their own uneasy relationship, puzzle over their only son with doctors and teachers, pushing John to a moment of crisis, which may prove his undoing. John's voice is singular and powerful throughout: "I wait anxiously for my turn, thinking that he'll soon discover me and know that I'm different. I've already decided that I'll tell him about my gift." By the subtle, satisfying d nouement, one is rooting for John's place in the Guinness book and saving a space for him among the year's memorable characters.