We have updated our Privacy Policy Please take a moment to review it. By continuing to use this site, you agree to the terms of our updated Privacy Policy.

Big Girl, Small Town

Big Girl, Small Town

Milkman meets Derry Girls. A cracking read’ Sinead Moriarty

‘A thrillingly fresh, provocative and touching voice’ Marian Keyes

‘Bawdy yet beautiful, full of everyday tragedy, absurdity and truth. I grew extraordinarily attached to Majella’ Sara Baume

Routine makes Majella’s world small but change is about to make it a whole lot bigger.

*Stuff Majella knows*
-God doesn’t punish men with baldness for wearing ladies’ knickers
-Banana-flavoured condoms taste the same as nutrition shakes
-Not everyone gets a volley of gunshots over their grave as they are being lowered into the ground

*Stuff Majella doesn’t know*
-That she is autistic
-Why her ma drinks
-Where her da is

Other people find Majella odd. She keeps herself to herself, she doesn’t like gossip and she isn’t interested in knowing her neighbours’ business. But suddenly everyone in the small town in Northern Ireland where she grew up wants to know all about hers.

Since her da disappeared during the Troubles, Majella has tried to live a quiet life with her alcoholic mother. She works in the local chip shop (Monday-Saturday, Sunday off), wears the same clothes every day (overalls, too small), has the same dinner each night (fish and chips, nuked in the microwave) and binge watches Dallas (the best show ever aired on TV) from the safety of her single bed. She has no friends and no boyfriend and Majella thinks things are better that way.

But Majella’s safe and predictable existence is shattered when her grandmother dies and as much as she wants things to go back to normal, Majella comes to realise that maybe there is more to life. And it might just be that from tragedy comes Majella’s one chance at escape.

(p) 2020 Hodder & Stoughton Ltd
Read More

Genre: Europe / British Isles / United Kingdom, Great Britain / Northern Ireland

On Sale: 20th February 2020

Price: £19.99

ISBN-13: 9781529357271

Reviews

Milkman meets Derry Girls. A cracking read
Sinead Moriarty
Bawdy yet beautiful, full of everyday tragedy, absurdity and truth. I grew extraordinarily attached to Majella
Sara Baume
A winning evocation of a small Irish community whose people burst from its pages. Engaging and satisfying
Daily Mail
A thrillingly fresh, provocative and touching voice
Marian Keyes
Superb
Irish Examiner
Northern Ireland is currently producing more exceptional writers per square inch than possibly anywhere else . . . Michelle Gallen will most certainly earn her place in the honours list. Big Girl, Small Town is even funnier than Derry Girls, while being just as fraught as Anna Burns's Booker Prize winner
Sunday Independent
Captivating . . . a confident debut with a very memorable protagonist in Majella
Irish Times
What a voice: I felt as though I knew Majella intimately by the end . . . Big Girl, Small Town is a darkly hilarious novel about small-town life, which manages to be wildly entertaining despite being mostly set in a chip shop - a fine place in which to loiter with such a filthy, funny, clever companion
Guardian
Darkly funny
Mail on Sunday
It's the humour, dry and gritty, that sets Big Girl, Small Town apart . . . to think that this is Michelle Gallen's debut is astonishing, as Majella's narration is bold and assured . . . evocative, caustic and compelling
Sunday Business Post
Gallen's debut deserves comparisons with Anna Burns' Milkman for its depiction of the impact of the Troubles on a vulnerable young woman but this terrifically imagined tender black comedy is very much its own book
Metro
Charming . . . there is an easy warmth to Big Girl, Small Town
Sunday Times
Gallen's unrelenting eye for the bizarre and Coughlan's talent for deadpanning make it an absolute winner
Financial Times
The funniest debut I've ever read
Claudia Carroll
I loved Majella from the first page . . . Utterly brilliant and deliciously hilarious! With humour, wit and beauty, Gallen subtly unveils a violence and conflict that lies beneath, exploring the legacy of the Troubles and the deeply felt effects through generations
Christy Lefteri
Sensational . . . Gallen's effortless immersion into a gritty, endlessly bittersweet world packs a dizzying punch
Publishers Weekly (starred review)
An irreverent portrait of small-town Northern Ireland that is both bleakly and uproariously funny
Kirkus