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published works


Malinski - a novel by Siofra O'DonovanTwo young brothers in Lvov, Poland, are separated by war. Henryk Malinski, imprisoned by the Nazis with his mother in the family home — the aura, power, and brutality of the Nazis are brilliantly evoked — flees with her ahead of the advancing Soviets, eventually settling in Ireland, where he becomes Henry Foley, a rakish, boozing academic, and spends his life in denial of, and tortured by, the demons of his childhood. Stanislav takes refuge with a devout and deranged aunt in Kracow, where he lives out the decades of his life — a solemn, gray, and humorless character, a human reflection of the communist state. Half a century later, after the fall of communism, Stanislav receives a letter: Henryk/Henry is coming for a visit. Malinski explores the powerful force of human memory, and particularly its complexity. As each character shows us, there is no real escape from memories, or from the past. It is only as the brothers confront each other and their history that they can begin to find peace.

Critical praise for Malinski

A well-crafted, intelligent story. There is much to admire in O’Donovan’s novel: her treatment of memory and the tricks it can play give the story its shape; her writing is confident and her descriptions powerful, often beautiful. Malinski is a strong debut that marks O’Donovan as a writer to watch.

– The Irish Times (full review)

Audacious … O’Donovan’s debut is compelling and full of promise.

– Irish Independent

The language of the novel is porcelain, eerie and crystal. One feels that each word is an exact choice. At the heart of this novel are the great human themes: love, betrayal, hatred, blame, and memory. O’Donovan gets under the skin of her characters and they are sensitively and acutely portrayed. It is refreshing to see such a fine Irish novel take the stage from this side of the Irish Sea.

– Sunday Business Post

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Pema and the Yak

Pema and the YakThe story of a journey through the Himalayas along the Indo-Tibetan border into the heart of Tibet in exile. It includes encounters with oracles, almas, expolitical prisoners, Tibetan doctors, nomads, guerilla fighters, painters, poets, missionaries and Himalayan royalty.

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Lost in Shambhala

Lost in ShambhalaLost in Shambhala is the fascinating story of a journey through the Himalaya along the Indo-Tibetan border in the heart of Tibet in exile. The author weaves the stories oracles, lamas, ex-political prisoners, doctors, shamans, DJs nomads, guerrilla fighters, painters, poets, missionaries and Himalayan kings and queens into a vivid and unforgettable collage of Tibetans living in exile in India today.

Critical praise for Lost in Shambhala

It’s everything the armchair traveller with spiritual leanings could hope to read about Tibet in exile.

– O.R. Melling

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