Nine Folds Make a Paper Swan by

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At a moment when we are preoccupied with migration, it offers a sympathetic perspective on the difficulties of adjusting to life in a new place over two generations.
-Guardian

Synopsis

Three intertwining voices span the twentieth century to tell the unknown story of the Jews in Ireland. A heartbreaking portrait of what it means to belong, and how storytelling can redeem us all.
At the start of the twentieth century, a young girl and her family emigrate from Lithuania in search of a better life in America, only to land on the Emerald Isle instead. In 1958, a mute Jewish boy locked away in a mental institution outside of Dublin forms an unlikely friendship with a man consumed by the story of the love he lost nearly two decades earlier. And in present-day London, an Irish journalist is forced to confront her conflicting notions of identity and family when her Jewish boyfriend asks her to make a true leap of faith. These three arcs, which span generations and intertwine in revelatory ways, come together to tell the haunting story of Ireland’s all-but-forgotten Jewish community. Ruth Gilligan’s beautiful and heartbreaking Nine Folds Make a Paper Swan explores the question of just how far we will go to understand who we really are, and to feel at home in the world.

 

About the Author

Ruth Gilligan is a novelist, journalist, and academic from Ireland, currently living in London. A graduate of Cambridge, Yale, East Anglia, and Exeter Universities, she now works as a Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Birmingham. She contributes regular literary reviews to the Guardian, LA Review of Books, Irish Independent, and Times Literary Supplement. Nine Folds Make a Paper Swan is her American debut novel.
 
Published January 24, 2017 by Tin House Books. 400 pages
Genres: History, Religion & Spirituality, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Guardian

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Reviewed by Oona Frawley on Jul 01 2016

At a moment when we are preoccupied with migration, it offers a sympathetic perspective on the difficulties of adjusting to life in a new place over two generations.

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