On a dark, wet evening in Dublin, scientist and mother-of-four Eilish Stack answers her front door to find the GNSB on her doorstep. Two officers from Ireland’s newly formed secret police want to speak with her husband, Larry, a trade unionist for the Teachers’ Union of Ireland. Things are falling apart. Ireland is in the grip of a government that is taking a turn towards tyranny. And as the blood-dimmed tide is loosed, Eilish finds herself caught within the nightmare logic of a collapsing society — assailed by unpredictable forces beyond her control and forced to do whatever it takes to keep her family together.
Exhilarating, terrifying, propulsive and confrontational, Prophet Song is a work of breathtaking originality and devastating insight, a novel that can be read as a parable of the present, the future and the past.
Paul Lynch is the prize-winning author of the novels, Beyond the Sea, Grace, The Black Snow and Red Sky in Morning. His third novel Grace won the 2018 Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year and the 2020 Ireland Francophonie Ambassadors’ Literary Award. His second novel The Black Snow won France’s bookseller prize, Prix Libr’à Nous for Best Foreign Novel. He has been shortlisted for many international prizes, including France’s Prix Jean Monnet for European Literature, Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger (Best Foreign Book Prize), Prix Littérature Monde and the Walter Scott Prize. He was born in Limerick in 1977, grew up in Donegal and lives in Dublin with his wife and two children.
'I haven't read a book that has shaken me so intensely in many years. The particular genius of this novel is that it makes the impossible possible: if it can happen in the most impossible place, it can happen everywhere. Prophet Song becomes a testament to a world unravelling. The comparisons are inevitable – Saramago, Orwell, McCarthy – but this novel will stand entirely on its own, not only as a beautifully written warning of how the human heart can get twisted, but also as a tribute to the power of love in the face of terrible reality.' -- Colum McCann, author of Apeirogon 'A monumental novel, prose so flawless and flowing that reading it is akin to being taken up in a wave. You emerge dazed. You remember why fiction matters. It's hard to recall a more powerful novel in recent years.' -- Samantha Harvey, author of The Western Wind 'The work of a master novelist, Prophet Song is a stunning, midnight vision whose themes are at once ancient and all too timely: fear, complicity, resistance, and what becomes of us when hell rises to our homeland.' -- Rob Doyle, author of Threshold 'It was gripping and chilling, and terribly prescient - a novel with a darkly important message about this particular moment in time.' -- Sara Baume, author of Spill Simmer Falter Wither 'Part cautionary-tale; part dystopian-nightmare; part fever dream. Whichever way you skin it, there is no denying the gathering power of Paul Lynch's writing. This is at once fearless and affecting prose with a ticking clock inevitability and a clanging bell pay-off. Both urgent jolt and slow furnace, Prophet Song takes you to the edge of the chasm and insists that you look down. A masterclass in terror and dread.' -- Alan McMonagle, author of Ithaca 'Paul Lynch is a writer of great vision and power and Prophet Song is his best novel yet.' -- Laird Hunt, author of Zorrie 'Surely one of the most important novels of this decade.' -- Ron Rash, author of Serena 'Dublin’s Paul Lynch has been a lynchpin of the Republic’s internationally celebrated output for over 10 years, his profound investigations of place, identity, religion, and memory consistently compared to names as awesome as Dostoevsky, Heaney, Nabokov and Emily Dickinson. In his typically lyrical, lulling style, Lynch pulls off a masterstroke here, setting his futuristic story, of a nation made fearful and suspicious by their tyrannical government’s surveillance, in the most familiar of settings, his home country. The chill, so close to home, is blood curdling.' -- The Big Issue 'A profoundly human story that brings to life the horror of living in a modern war zone. Deft, subtle and written in strikingly beautiful prose, with this stunning novel Paul Lynch has joined the ranks of Atwood, Orwell and Burgess.' -- Christine Dwyer Hickey, author of The Narrow Land 'A mesmerising, shattering novel, Prophet Song lives and breathes on the page and lingers long after finishing it. A paen to maternal love amidst gathering forces of darkness, Paul Lynch has done something extraordinary here. I felt as though I were experiencing the disassembling and terrifying restructuring of Eilish's world and am forever altered having entered it. The dream-like sensibility of the prose offsets the startling brutality of Eilish's plight. It is a work of wonder.' -- Lisa Harding, author of Bright Burning Things