Major Brendan Archer travels to Ireland – to the Majestic Hotel and to the fiancée he acquired on a rash afternoon’s leave three years ago. Despite her many letters, the lady herself proves elusive, and the Major’s engagement is short-lived. But he is unable to detach himself from the alluring discomforts of the crumbling hotel. Ensconced in the dim and shabby splendour of the Palm Court, surrounded by gently decaying old ladies and proliferating cats, the Major passes the summer. So hypnotic are the faded charms of the Majestic, the Major is almost unaware of the gathering storm. But this is Ireland in 1919 – and the struggle for independence is about to explode with brutal force.

Reviews

It's funny, sad and beautifully written; it's prescient, wise, original and unexpectedly eccentric. Vote JG, I say. Or even better, just read him.
Rachel Cooke, OBSERVER
Troubles has everything: great story, compelling characters, believable dialogue and big ideas. It's a book good enough to win the Booker in any year. Not just 1970.
John Crace, GUARDIAN
Like Fawlty Towers written by Evelyn Waugh
Rachel Cooke, Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival, 2010
No finer work has ever been written about this transitional period in Irish history: it remains a landmark in 20th-century Irish literature, and one that deserves to win The One And Only Great Retrospective Booker.
Kevin Myers, IRISH INDEPENDENT
'I can't praise this book enough. It's a good rule that reviewers should be forbidden from using the word "genius"...But it's hard to know what else to say when faced with a book like Troubles. There's no avoiding it. JG Farrell was a genius.'
Sam Jordison, GUARDIAN BOOKS BLOG
Troubles stands up at every stage. It has a fine beginning and a brilliant ending, and is sustained throughout by this wit, laughter and intelligence.
Tobias HIll, INDEPENDENT
meaty and magnificent¿He [Farrell] is a master at controlling pace, and his writing is satisfyingly solid. He is capable of the most vigorous farce, and then he will bring things to the knife edge of tragedy¿a fine and fitting winner.
Philip Womack, DAILY TELEGRAPH
Poignant, meticulously observed, often hilarious, it is one of the finest novels of the past 50 years.
Simon Shaw, MAIL ON SUNDAY
A work of genius
Guardian
One of the finest novels of the past 50 years
Mail on Sunday
Funny, sad and beautifully written; prescient, wise, original and unexpectedly eccentric
Rachel Cooke, Observer
TROUBLES has everything: great story, compelling characters, believable dialogue and big ideas. It's a book good enough to win the Booker in any year. Not just 1970.
GUARDIAN
Like Fawlty Towers written by Evelyn Waugh
Rachel Cooke, Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival
No finer work has ever been written about this transitional period in Irish history: it remains a landmark in 20th-century Irish literature, and one that deserves to win The One And Only Great Retrospective Booker
IRISH INDEPENDENT
Farrell's vision and voice are unique, inimitable
John Banville