THE FIRST DAY

Phil Harrison

Set in Ireland and New York, a debut novel about an affair and its explosive consequences—the sins of the father visited on the son in unexpected and irreversible ways

Outside an east Belfast mission hall, pastor and family man Samuel Orr meets Anna, a young Beckett scholar. They embark on an intense, passionate affair, their connection fueled by their respective love of Christ and Beckett. When Anna falls pregnant the affair is revealed. The repercussions are slow to emerge but inescapable, and the fallout when it finally comes is shocking, cruel, and violent.

Over thirty years later Sam,

more …

Set in Ireland and New York, a debut novel about an affair and its explosive consequences—the sins of the father visited on the son in unexpected and irreversible ways

Outside an east Belfast mission hall, pastor and family man Samuel Orr meets Anna, a young Beckett scholar. They embark on an intense, passionate affair, their connection fueled by their respective love of Christ and Beckett. When Anna falls pregnant the affair is revealed. The repercussions are slow to emerge but inescapable, and the fallout when it finally comes is shocking, cruel, and violent.

Over thirty years later Sam, their son, is in New York, living a steady, guarded life, his childhood and family safely abandoned. But the sins of the fathers are visited often on their children, and the past crashes into his life as violently as in his youth. He is forced to confront the fears he has kept close all these years.

The First Day is the story of an affair and its consequences—on family and on faith. It is an intense, questioning novel of the search to understand our origins and to free ourselves from the burdens of our early years. It’s a stunning debut, meditative and compelling, incantatory, at times devastating and always mesmerizing.

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  • Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Hardcover
  • October 2017
  • 224 Pages
  • 9781328849663

Buy the Book

$23.00

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About Phil Harrison

Phil Harrison‘s first feature film, The Good Man, was released in 2014. His earlier short, Even Gods, won the short film award at the Belfast, Galway, and Cork Film Festivals in 2011, and was short-listed for the best short script at the 2012 Irish Screenwriting Awards. He lives in Belfast. The First Day is his debut novel.

Praise

“Harrison’s debut is a fully engaging, well-written, very imaginative novel…The early part of the novel is written in powerful poetic prose, and with the detailed analysis of emotion, the understanding of how body and mind interact, strongly reminiscent of DH Lawrence…A wonderful debut.”Irish Times

“Brilliantly written throughout…A truly excellent novel, on all counts…With tight, dispassionate, superbly controlled prose, Harrison channels the spirit of Don DeLillo or Camus…in an unflinching yet compassionate investigation of matters of the human heart and—[like] Graham Greene—the heart of the matter.”Irish Independent  

“Written with burning intensity, this is a powerful novel about marriage, passion, anger, and guilt.”Daily Mail (UK)