Feb 18, 2021
out now in paperback
Michelle Gallen Big Girl, Small Town
First published by John Murray in the UK and Ireland in Spring 2020 and by Algonquin in the US in December Big Girl, Small Town was nominated for the Comedy Women in Print 2020 award and also for the Sunday Independent Newcomer Of The Year 2020 at the An Post Irish Book Awards and has been optioned by Lookout Point to be adapted for TV by a team including Kathy Burke.
The comic novel explores the legacy of the Troubles in a divided Irish border town through the perspective of Majella O’Neill, a twenty-seven-year-old “big girl” who lives at home with her mother and is brimming with no nonsense attitude and scathing wit.
Praise For Big Girl, Small Town
“An inventively foulmouthed gem of a novel… with such deadpan wit that sentimentality doesn’t stand a chance… Majella, our clear-eyed protagonist, is far more than a gifted wisecracker and ‘Big Girl, Small Town’ a more shrewd depiction of provincial life than its flippant tone might suggest… a novel that is, above all, an intimate portrait of a peculiar—and peculiarly resilient—woman who is fated to notice everything and forget nothing. With her specifically heightened awareness, Majella is a welcome addition to the diverse family of protagonists that includes young Christopher Boone in Mark Haddon’s ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,’ Hesketh Lock in Liz Jensen’s ‘The Uninvited’ and Keiko in Sayaka Murata’s ‘Convenience Store Woman,’ all of whom perceive reality through a similar lens… In this oddly affecting novel of everyday defeats, Majella’s triumph is more thrilling than any army’s victory.”
Wall Street Journal
“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”
“..sensational debut.. Gallen’s effortless immersion into a gritty, endlessly bittersweet world packs a dizzying punch”