top of page

Feb 9, 2023

The Home Scar published by Sandycove, Penguin
to rave reviews

Kathleen MacMahon’s

'The home scar - that's what they call the mark limpets make on the rock when they return.'

'Wait, they leave the rock?'

'Of course. How else would they survive?

NANA .jpg

On opposite sides of the world, half-siblings Cassie and Christo have built their lives around work, intent on ignoring their painful past.

When a dramatic storm in Galway hits the headlines, they're drawn back there to revisit a glorious childhood summer, the last before their mother died. But their journey uncovers memories of a far less happy summer - one that had tragic consequences.

Confronted with the havoc their mother left in her wake, Cassie and Christo are forced to face their past and - ready or not - to deal with the messy tangle of parental love and neglect that shaped them.

The Home Scar is a luminous and precise story about the inheritance of loss and the possibility of finally making peace with it.

Praise for The Home Scar

“She is a natural storyteller, knowing when to withhold or indulge. Her writing is understated and precise, full of cadence.. There’s a superb authenticity to each of the voices in The Home Scar.. If one of the traits of a great novelist is their insight into the human condition, MacMahon has it in spades. Even the difficult characters in the book are understood on multiple levels… a powerful story about legacy, loss and the possibility of reconciliation”

The Irish Times

“Memory as unreliable narrator was central to MacMahon’s excellent novel ‘Nothing But Blue Sky’. She returns to that theme in ‘The Home Scar’. But this is a much finer and infinitely more ambitious work, with a bigger cast and a more intricate storyline. And just as David in Blue Sky is challenged in his memory of his dead wife as uncanonised saint, so these siblings are challenged to re-evaluate their childhood memories and finally emerge from their mother’s shadow”

The Sunday Independent

“Like MacMahon’s previous, superb novel ‘Nothing But Blue Sky’, ‘The Home Scar’ is a delicately observed portrait of memory, how perspectives take shape and how each of us processes and responds to our experiences.. ‘The Home Scar’ is a thoughtful, understated novel, has a quiet power all its own”

The Irish Independent

“MacMahon’s novel is full of minutely observed moments… Her exploration of connection, to each other and the ones we’ve lost, is also sensitively done and wrapped in the rich storytelling that has made her a notable name in Irish literature”, Book of The Week

“Her beautifully simple style belies psychological complexity . . . and her tone is wryly accepting”

Big Issue

“Subtle and authentic”

Claire Fuller

“A gorgeous story of sibling love. I thoroughly enjoyed following Cassie and Christo's quest to discover the tangled roots of a past that binds them together”

Louise Nealon

“Kathleen MacMahon's subject is memory itself: how we remember - and the impact upon our future lives when our memories deceive us. Compassionate and poignant, The Home Scar is a work of considerable moral power”

Neil Hegarty

“A very grown-up novel about life and love, of course, and above all, the repercussions of a disrupted childhood . . . a real tour de force”

Christine Dwyer Hickey

“An intriguing, meticulous and generation-spanning story of love, loss and healing . . . readers will be surprised and delighted.”

Ed O’Loughlin

“An exceptional novel by one of Ireland’s foremost literary talents. A book not to be missed.”

Anne Griffin

“A real treat . . . no one does delicately detailed observation like Kathleen MacMahon.”

Sinéad Crowley

Wonderful. Funny, tender and beautifully written.”

Rachael English

“A deftly realized and persuasive meditation on how our past never quite relinquishes our present, The Home Scar once again displays Kathleen MacMahon’s gimlet-eyed understanding of grown-up frailty.”

Hilary Fannin

Kathleen on The Brendan O Connor Show, RTE, Radio 1

Kathleen MacMahon: ‘I only read my grandmother Mary Lavin’s work when I became a novelist too’

I don’t recall my mother kissing me or tucking me into bed. Did those things happen?

Kathleen McMahon: It’s a question every mother asks - how will your children remember you?

‘There’s a savage beauty to the place’: the dark mystery of Ireland’s Connemara region

bottom of page