‘From the problems between fathers and sons to the perils of going to see Dylan in his dotage, this is a deep and richly pleasurable reading experience. Park depicts the frustrations and excitements of everyday life with equal clarity.’
Matt Thorne, writer and Head of
Creative Writing at Brunel University
2012 Judging Panel
It is December in Belfast, Christmas is approaching and three sets of people are about to make their way to Amsterdam.
Alan, a university art teacher stands watching the grey sky blacken waiting for George Best’s funeral cortege to pass. He will go to Amsterdam to see Bob Dylan in concert but also in the aftermath of his divorce, in the hope that the city which once welcomed him as a young man and seemed to promise a better future, will reignite those sustaining memories. He doesn’t yet know that his troubled teenage son Jack will accompany his pilgrimage.
Karen is a single mother struggling to make ends meet by working in a care home and cleaning city centre offices. She is determined to give her daughter the best wedding that she can. But as she boards the plane with her daughter’s hen party she will soon be shocked into questioning where her life of sacrifices has brought her.
Meanwhile middle-aged couple, Marion and Richard are taking a break from running their garden centre to celebrate Marion’s birthday. In Amsterdam, Marion’s anxieties and insecurities about age, desire and motherhood come to the surface and lead her to make a decision that threatens to change the course of her marriage.
As these people brush against each other in the squares, museums and parks of Amsterdam, their lives are transfigured as they encounter the complexities of love in a city that challenges what has gone before.
About David Park:
David Park has written seven books, most recently the hugely acclaimed The Truth Commissioner. He was the winner of the Authors’ Club First Novel Award, the Bass Ireland Arts Award for Literature and three-time winner of the University of Ulster’s McCrea Literary Award. He has twice been shortlisted for the Irish Novel of the Year Award. He lives in County Down, Northern Ireland with his wife and two children.