'An original, radical and vital new voice in Irish writing ... [The Cruelty Men] should propel an already proven and prodigious talent to the forefront of contemporary Irish letters.' THE IRISH TIMES
'This is savagely compelling ... There's an incandescent rage at the heart of The Cruelty Men that burns so brightly, it will sear itself into the consciousness of all who read this powerful and moving novel.' THE SUNDAY BUSINESS POST
`Emer Martin has written a beautiful alternative history of Ireland ... a book that traces the meaning of storytelling, mislaid culture and the boundless quest for belonging. The prose is captivating and seductive, it left me exhilarated and breathless, with new eyes on what it means to be Irish.' - JUNE CALDWELL
Abandoned by her parents when they resettle in Meath, Mary O Conaill faces the task of raising her younger siblings alone. Padraig is disappeared, Sean joins the Christian Brothers, Bridget escapes and her brother Seamus inherits the farm. Maeve is sent to serve a family of shopkeepers in the local town. Later, pregnant and unwed, she is placed in a Magdalene Laundry where her twins are forcibly removed.
Spanning the 1930s to the 70s, this sweeping multi-generational family saga follows the psychic and physical displacement of a society in freefall after independence. Wit, poetic nuance, vitality and authenticity inhabit this remarkable novel. The Cruelty Men tells an unsentimental tale of survival in a country proclaimed as independent but subjugated by silence.
Emer Martin is a Dubliner who has lived in Paris, London, the Middle East, and various parts of the U.S. Her first novel, Breakfast in Babylon, won Book of the Year 1996 at the prestigious Listowel Writers' Week. More Bread Or I'll Appear, her second novel, was published internationally in 1999. Her third novel, Baby Zero, was published in the UK and Ireland March 2007, and released in the U.S. in 2014. She has worked as a theatrical producer and publisher, founding publishing cooperative Rawmeash in 2014. Emer was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship in 2000. She now lives between California and Co. Meath, Ireland.