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Close to Home

Modern & Contemporary Fiction
Hardback Published on: 06/04/2023
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Bookseller Reviews

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Close to Home
Contemporary theme
Really enjoyed this well written debut. Searing insight to the contradictions the move to adulthood present currently. Very much of its time and expertly... READ MORE
Close to Home
This just stopped me in my tracks!!!! Wow wow wow what an incredible debut! I’m in awe of what I have just read, it was tender, raw , honest and just... READ MORE
Lizzie Ryan
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A brilliant debut novel
This is a novel that will be relatable for so many. The experience of coming home after a university degree and struggling to readjust, and feeling torn be... READ MORE
Michael Morgan
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Our Sean
Love Michael's writing, talking about dark subjects, intergenerational trauma but with humour. I felt seen, the experience of class and being from the Nor... READ MORE
Grace at Waterstones Belfast
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Poignant exploration of class, family and masculinity
Set in contemporary Belfast, the book follows Sean, a young man who has been to University in England but has returned to his home-town where he works a ba... READ MORE
Beth at Chesterfield
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Close to perfect...
I loved this confident and assured debut. Uni student drifts back to his native Belfast, and struggles to avoid slipping back in to his destructive network... READ MORE
Paul Thornton
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Heartbreaking and visceral.
I loved it. Smoothly written and so very real, charting the ways that class, poverty, familial trauma and masculinity intersect to enable cycles of self-sa... READ MORE
Chris Bedford
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A must read new voice in Irish fiction
A powerful debut that explores class, masculinity, family, addiction and the lingering impact of The Troubles on everyday life and relationships in Ireland... READ MORE
Violet Daniels
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a perfect portrait of belfast
when sean assaults a stranger at a house party, the reality of his lifestyle begins to sink in. there’s only so long one can continue to live in hedonism, ... READ MORE
Rachel at Belfast
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One of the best books I've read this year
One of the best books I've read this year. A really insightful and arresting depiction of a young man's struggle. Every character is layered and complex. T... READ MORE
Close to Home
Modern and relevant
Every time I try to describe this book, I literally want to say 'It hits close to home.' It speaks volumes about the perils of our current generation of yo... READ MORE
Holly at Oldham
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I genuinely liked reading this book, it felt like a slice of real life and it was unsettling in the sense that that this a reality for so many people. Th... READ MORE
Close to Home
Aye, brilliant
A fantastic novel. In Belfast, your man tries to break the classic poverty trap set for anyone from a working class background who studies English as a deg... READ MORE
Emma Marshall
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What Happens When You Finally Do Come of Age?
What happens after the coming of age story finishes? For Sean, nothing much. After escaping poverty and trauma to be the only one in his family to go to un... READ MORE
Katy Wheatley
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An important debut
Offers a number of valuable insights into modern male culture in Belfast, alongside the enduring impact of the Troubles on said culture. The level of deta... READ MORE
Sean Farrell
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A stunning debut novel
Close to Home follows Sean, a University graduate who must return to his home of Belfast despite it being the last thing he wants to do. Subsequently tryin... READ MORE
Close to Home
A beautiful portrait of masculinity, youth and relationships
This novel left a real impression on me. Sean is a 22-year-old, working-class man who has a degree from Liverpool but is struggling to find a job now that ... READ MORE
Rebecca at Tunbridge Wells
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Stunning debut
Close to Home is a beautifully written, honest, witty and moving debut novel with vivid characterisations, not least the loveable rogue of a protagonist. ... READ MORE
Susan Salters
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A fiction, but tells the realities of growing up in post-conflict Belfast
Thanks to Penguin for the proof copy. One of my favourite reads of 2023. A coming of age fiction set in post-conflict Belfast during the 2008 recession. Mi... READ MORE
James Ashe


Luminous and devastating, a portrait of modern masculinity as shaped by class, by trauma, and by silence, but also by the courage to love and to survive. Sean's brother Anthony is a hard man. When they were kids their ma did her best to keep him out of trouble but you can't say anything to Anto. Sean was supposed to be different. He was supposed to leave and never come back. But Sean does come back. Arriving home after university, he finds Anthony's drinking is worse than ever. Meanwhile the jobs in Belfast have vanished, Sean's degree isn't worth the paper it's written on and no one will give him the time of day. One night he loses control and assaults a stranger at a party, and everything is tipped into chaos. Close to Home witnesses the aftermath of that night, as Sean attempts to make sense of who he has become, and to reckon with the relationships that have shaped him, for better and worse. Drawing from his own experiences, Michael Magee examines the forces which keep young working class men in harm's way, in a debut novel which shines with intelligence and humanity on every page. Close to Home is an extraordinary work of fiction about deciding what kind of a man you want to be and finding your place in the scarred city you call home.

  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • ISBN: 9780241582978
  • Number of pages: 288
  • Weight: 407g
  • Dimensions: 222 x 144 x 28 mm

Customer Reviews

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Close to Home
A true modern coming of age story..
Sean is a twenty something young man trying to survive in Belfast. First of his family to go to university he was meant to leave and never come back howeve... READ MORE
Emine at Bromley
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I knew straight away this was going to be brilliant...
Thank you to the publishers for this early review copy. I knew straight away from the first few pages that this was going to be brilliant! The writing is g... READ MORE
Fiona Sharp
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Belfast Bearings
I was blown away by this novel, a telling of a young man’s struggle to redirect the path his life has taken. Sean forged his way through school in Belfast,... READ MORE
Michael Burke
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An impressive, ultimately hopeful, debut
Michael Magee’s debut, Close to Home follows Sean from his squalid Belfast flat the night after a bender has seen him assault a guy at a party he’s gate-cr... READ MORE
Susan Osborne
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Poignant & Powerful
Drawing on personal experiences in Close to Home, Magee delves into a poignant exploration of toxic masculinity amidst the cross-generational trauma of the... READ MORE
Georgina (ReadsEatsExplores)
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Brillant Debut
Magee manages to give a voice to the experience of many working class males who seek to change their destiny but find that ingrained oppression can make th... READ MORE
Ryan Bainbridge