Irish Book Awards Shortlist
Library Journal Best Indie Fiction of the Year
Publishers Weekly Best Summer Book Staff Pick
Concord Monitor/Concord Insider Book of the Week
Chatelaine magazine Book Club selection
Brooklyn Book Festival Best Debut Book
“Ghost Moth is an impressive debut by a writer who is not afraid to address the so-called ordinary lives of real human beings.” —JOHN BANVILLE, Booker Prize-winning author of The Sea and Ancient Light
“Clever, unpredictable, beautifully written and crafted.” —RODDY DOYLE, Booker Prize-winning author of Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha and The Commitments
“[Forbes’] writing soaks up the world, and thrills to the beauty of it.” —ANNE ENRIGHT, Booker Prize-winning author of The Gathering and The Forgotten Waltz
During the hot Irish summer of 1969, tensions rise in Belfast where Katherine, a former actress, and George, a firefighter, struggle to keep buried secrets from destroying their marriage. As Catholic Republicans and Protestant Loyalists clash during the “Troubles” and Northern Ireland moves to the brink of civil war, the lines between private anguish and public outrage disintegrate. An exploration of memory, childhood, illicit love, and loss, Ghost Moth is an exceptional tale about a family—and a country—seeking freedom from ghosts of the past.
Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Michèle Forbes is an award-winning theater, television, and film actress who has toured worldwide with The Great Hunger and Dancing at Lughnasa. She studied literature at Trinity College, Dublin and has worked as a literary reviewer for the Irish Times. Her short stories have received both the Bryan MacMahon and the Michael McLaverty Awards. She lives near Dalkey, Dublin with her husband and two children. Ghost Moth is her first novel.
Personal and political turmoil erupt in the life of Irish housewife Katherine Bedford during the summer of 1969 in Forbes's powerful debut novel. When she nearly drowns on a family outing to the beach, Katherine is haunted by the memory of an old lover, which she has "blotted out throughout her married life but never gone away." Memories of her lover, Tom, a tailor she met while performing amateur opera on the eve of her engagement to her husband, George, draw Katherine inward and she finds herself detaching from her family. Her inner conflicts unfold against the background of violent riots in Northern Ireland, where Catholics including Katherine's young daughters are victims of heinous crimes. Forbes elegantly weaves in narrative from 20 years prior when Katherine first meets Tom, who ignites an electrifying passion within her, a feeling she doesn't get from George who approaches life as "a series of tasks that had to be done" with his characteristic "sullen determination". Through her richly imagined characters, Forbes depicts a fully human and flawed relationship between two people with their own desires, memories, and secrets.