Releasing 27 April, 2024
Mark B. McCaffery
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Drab, bleak Portadown, 1971, where Catholics are kept in their place, seen through the eyes of innocent, bright, mischievous and droll Barry-Joe McCoubrey, on the cusp of his teens reflecting on his own life, his family, his troubled neighbourhood—and girls.
Popular with his schoolmates, Barry-Joe also has broody insular tendencies and spends a lot of time analysing both others and the growing conflict spreading from Belfast and Derry to his home town of Portadown, including the Garvaghy Road and the Tunnel areas.
Barry-Joe shares a surname with Larry McCoubrey, a well-loved BBC newsreader, famous for his end-of-programme cheesy quips and jokes. Larry’s jokes lead to banter and slagging from Barry-Joe’s classmates. However, Larry also must report increasingly bad news and we see how Barry-Joe empathises with his namesake in this task.
This is a hilarious and immensely moving coming-of-age novel from Mark B. McCaffery.
About the author:
Mark B. McCaffery was born in Portadown in 1958. He attended several local schools—the Convent, St Columba’s, and St Malachy’s Secondary Intermediate.
McCoubrey is Mark’s first novel and was inspired by his childhood experience of growing up in Portadown, a place where the public park and swings were padlocked on Sundays, where the Orange Order marched at will, and where the menace of sectarian violence was never far from the surface.
Mark B. McCaffery lives in London and is retired after a career in education.