When freshman Niall Lenihan moves to Trinity College, he dives into unfamiliar social scenes, quickly becoming fascinated by a reclusive pair of students—literary "mystics" who let signs and symbols from books determine their actions. Reluctantly, they admit him to their private sessions, and what begins as an intriguing game for Niall becomes increasingly esoteric, dramatic, and addictive. As Niall discovers the true nature of the pursuits in which he has become entangled, The First Verse traces a young man’s search for identity, companionship, and a cult’s shadowy origins in the pages of literature and the people of a city. Fans of Donna Tartt’s The Secret History or Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley will be mesmerized by the strange, page-turning world of this astonishing first novel from a dazzling new literary voice.
THE FIRST VERSE was awarded the 2006 Ferro-Grumley Award for Fiction. Past winners include AT SWIM TWO BOYS by Jamie O'Neill, THE MARRIED MAN by Edmund White, THE HOURS by Michael Cunningham, and THE STORY OF THE NIGHT by Colm Toibin.
Works Joyce’s territory with Becktian irony—and a splash of Patrick White.... Rich in ideas and true to the real world. -- Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2005
Amazon: The First Verse: A Novel
The Author: Barry McCrea joined the department in 2004. His interests include modern European literature, especially narrative, in English, French, Spanish, Italian and Irish (Gaelic), and modern Latin American literature. He has a B.A. in Spanish and French from Trinity College Dublin, and a Ph.D. from Princeton (2004), where his dissertation won the Sidonie-Klauss award. He has recently finished a book entitled Family and the Modern Novel, with chapters on Dickens, Conan Doyle, Joyce, and Proust, which links the evolution of modernist narrative form in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to a changing conception of the family.
His published articles and works-in-progress include essays on modernism and the marriage-plot, on puns and ideas of citizenship in Ulysses, on exile and allegory in Cortázar, and on the relationship between Bram Stoker’s Dracula and the romantic comedy. He is currently working on a second academic book on firstness in fiction, provisionally entitled First Novels, Final Farewells. He has been an invited speaker at conferences and summer schools in the United States, Ireland and Italy, and was a plenary speaker at the 2006 International James Joyce Symposium in Budapest.
His novel, The First Verse (Carroll & Graf, 2005; Brandon 2008), won the 2005 Ferro-Grumley prize for fiction and was selected for the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers program. It was nominated for an American Library Association Stonewall prize and for a Lambda award and was excerpted in the London Independent on Sunday and the Spanish daily El País. It was praised by publications such as the London Review of Books, the Observer and the Financial Times. The First Verse was published in Spanish as Literati (DestinoLibro, 2007), and in German as Die Poeten der Nacht (Aufbau, 2008).
Top 100 Gay Novels List (*)
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