Cross | Granta

  • Published: 04/07/2024
  • ISBN: 9781803510835
  • Granta Books
  • 304 pages


Austin Duffy

1994, the summer of the ceasefire. In the Northern Irish border town of Cross, after decades of violent activity protesting British rule, a community plays out its end game.

Francie, a principled elder of the cause, has authorised the murder of a policeman; his teenage henchmen are triumphant at pulling it off. In the town square, the Widow Donnelly protests because her son has gone missing. Young Cathy Murphy, the daughter of a Protestant, is trying to find her place among a people who ignore her. And pathological Handy Byrne, whose marksmanship makes him a valuable weapon, is out of control. Meanwhile, paranoia is growing because operations are beginning to go wrong. The townsfolk suspect a tout, but no one is willing to accept the evidence before their eyes.

From its dramatic first chapter, Cross is an extraordinary evocation of the loyalties and divisions within a town governed by its own variety of law, where violence is rewarded and complicity is second nature. It is a complex tale of betrayal and brutality at the height of the Troubles, a moving, powerful and empathetic lament for a community that has lost its way in its battle for the nation.

A thrillingly tense read... a novel of riveting clarity and international relevance for our turbulent times

Claire Kilroy

An intricately plotted game of cat and mouse where it's never clear who'll turn out to be the cat and who the mouse - a novel which brings Austin Duffy's distinctive blend of black humour and moral seriousness to the literature of the Troubles

Carys Davies

Duffy is a writer everyone should be reading, starting with Cross - a jolting, gut-punch of a book in which Duffy masterfully captures how a state of perpetual conflict curdles life on individual, communal and even environmental levels, leaving no one and no place unscathed

Noel O Regan

The Author

Austin Duffy‘s debut novel This Living and Immortal Thing was shortlisted for the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year, was Runner-Up for the McKitterick Prize and was highly commended for the BMA Medical Books Awards. He grew up in Ireland, studied medicine at Trinity College Dublin and is a practising medical oncologist. He lives in Ireland with his wife and two children.

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