In 2010, when the recession took root in Ireland, the young people looked at the ground they were standing on and realised it was rotten. Rotten in so many ways, but especially in the ways made by man. So most decided it was time to do what their forefathers had done during times of famine, when the ground was rotten too, and leave. For America. And Newfoundland. And Australia. And Canada. But in the winter of 2010, a group of college students had a different idea. They weren’t going to leave. They would simply find a patch of land that hadn’t been contaminated and live off it. Just like their forefathers had always done before the land became rotten and the country corrupted by greed. This is their story.
This debut novel is nothing if not apt, touching on the consequences of the economic downturn.
Set in 2010, the intriguing premise sees the recession in full swing in Ireland.
A group of college pals decide to buck the emigration trend, despite opportunities which are being denied to them.
Instead, they want to find a patch of land that hasn't been contaminated and live off it.
As you might expect, however, the hippy-commune ideal starts out well enough, but things soon go wrong. Badly wrong.
Galvin, a journalist and keen photographer, spent most of his 20s living in Poland and has travelled extensively in Eastern Europe, experiences which, he says, have influenced both his world view and his sparse writing style.
The concept of people striking out on their own to find a utopian ideal has been breached before in the likes of Alex Garland's The Beach but Galvin's direct, uncompromising style sets him apart. The book's unconventional style has been memorably described as like "reading a film".
- Garreth Murphy --Evening Herald, Garreth Murphy
"This is definitely a book of our times."
--Vincent Browne, journalist and broadcaster.
"Galvin skilfully blends the different elements together: Gabriel's Gate is by turns social commentary, thriller, moral fable, black comedy and horror story.
There's a pleasingly downbeat feel to the book, a sense of dread and impending disaster. The climax, while shocking and disturbing, never feels forced or tacked on, just the inevitable consequence of the evil that men do.
The novel ends with a coda, one that suggests good things can, and do, endure. Not a bad philosophy as we rebuild this broken country."
Darragh McManus, Irish Independent