It is 1950. Donegal. A land apart. Derry city is only fourteen miles away but too far, mentally, for people to travel there in comfort. Into this community comes Gianni, a painter from Italy.
A book of close observation, sharp wit, linguistic dexterity - and of deep sympathy for everyday humanity.
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'The great spirit of Frank McGuinness radiates in this magnificent novel. Myriad voices converge on one glistening core; it is a high-wire act earthed in the deepest humanity.' Sebastian Barry
It is 1950. Donegal. A land apart. Derry city is only fourteen miles away but far beyond daily reach. Into this community comes Gianni, also called Giotto at his birth. A painter from Arrezzo in Italy, he has been commissioned to paint the Stations of the Cross. The young Italian comes with his dark skin, his unusual habits, but also his solitude and his own peculiar personal history. He is a major source of fascination for the entire community.
A book of close observation, sharp wit, linguistic dexterity - and of deep sympathy for ordinary, everyday humanity.
The great spirit of Frank McGuinness radiates in this magnificent novel. Myriad voices converge on one glistening core; it is a high-wire act earthed in the deepest humanity.-- Sebastian Barry
spectacular-- Sunday World
there's a lovely sense of connection in reading this novel by the playwright McGuinness, a connection to the rest of the writer's oeuvre ... gorgeous ... a challenging and rewarding read-- The Herald
invested with a weighty, parable-like intensity-- Times Literary Supplement
prose that could be described as musical ... it is hard not to be charmed ... elegant and thoughtful, often funny, never dull or repetitive-- Irish Echo
curious, unique and unsettling ... this book demands and deserves to be approached on its own terms-- Sunday Independent
wonderful-- Woman's Way
a novel infused with an understanding of everyday life - the language laced with wit and McGuinness' panache as a playwright evident in the story as each character takes to the stage-- Belfast Telegraph
for a novel based in rural Ireland there is freshness to the remote Donegal setting ... strikes an unusual note-- Nomoreworkhorse.com
this is McGuinness's first novel after many years as a prolific and successful playwright. It is a transfer he makes with great ease ... the structure of the book cleverly makes the most of his strengths and skills as a playwright. Each chapter gives a distinct voice its stage and each voice adds to the tale and nudges it along-- Nomoreworkhorse.com
I found it to be startling and memorable ... likely to stay with you-- Nomoreworkhorse.com
fantastic-- East Coast FM
a really wonderful book-- The Green Room, Newstalk FM
builds to this heart-breaking finale-- The Green Room, Newstalk FM
well-worth a read-- The Green Room, Newstalk FM
an exceptional examination of family, religion and love-- Gay Community News
in his willingness to leave the rest unresolved ... Frank McGuinness creates something both beautiful and new-- The Guardian
an atmosphere of folklore pervades. Lyrical cadences reverberate in the phrasing and there is a profusion of symbolism ... imbuing the novel's events with the uncanny aura of fable or myth-- The Literary Review
the strangeness of McGuinness's novel, the offbeat atmosphere and the narrative motility, certainly make it an intriguing piece of work. It is perhaps worth enduring bafflement to read a novel that is so defiantly unusual-- The Literary Review
distinctive and alive ... arresting-- Irish Times
a distinctively Irish book ... echoes of Joyce-- Irish Times
McGuinness the playwright has shown with Arimathea that he is also a novelist, and he has given us a substantial and intriguing book to contemplate and to remember-- Irish Times
McGuinness's montage of voices creates beautifully bleak first novel-- Sunday Business Post
a wonderfully unsympathetic portrait of an Irish town and its quietly suffering inhabitants-- Sunday Business Post
a beautifully thought-provoking piece of fiction-- Sunday Business Post
deeply funny about the absurdities of human behaviour-- Irish Examiner
a powerful, passionate novel ... quirky, authentic, often humorous voices-- Books Ireland
a Greek chorus of quirky, authentic, often humorous voices-- Books Ireland
A work of passion and truth, in which imaginative daring is matched by deep psychological insight.-- Declan Kiberd
Poetic and strange, elemental and truly original, Arimathea engages fearlessly with the mysteries of art and love.-- Deirdre Madden
Frank McGuinness is Professor of Creative Writing in University College Dublin. A world-renowned playwright, his first great stage hit was the highly acclaimed Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme. This is his first novel, a major event.