The Island Child: A novel (Hardcover)

Staff Pick Badge
The Island Child: A novel Cover Image
In Stock
Northshire Manchester
4 on hand, as of Aug 9 10:30am
Northshire Saratoga
4 on hand, as of Aug 9 10:30am

Staff Reviews

This debut novel made me curl up in a chair for 2 days, becoming enamored with these characters & places. This beautifully crafted book blend ancient Irish mythology & folklore with the crustiness & elemental nature of Island life and are reflected and reverberate in the story of outcasts Oona & Enda. This book catches and holds the winds that pull and buffet the west of Ireland and the souls that inhabit it. The Island Child belongs on the shelf next to John B Keane's The Field.

Maeve Noonan


A spellbinding, deeply felt debut novel--soaring and poignant--about passion, freedom, motherhood, and the power to shape our destinies.

Oona grew up on the island of Inis: a wind-blasted rock off the coast of Ireland where the men went out on fishing boats and the women tended turf fires; where the only book was the Bible; and where girls stayed at home until they became mothers themselves. The island was a gift for some, a prison for others. Even as a child, Oona knew she wanted to leave, but she never could have anticipated the tumultuous turn of events that would ultimately compel her to flee. Now, after twenty years--after Oona has forged a new, very different life for herself--her daughter vanishes, forcing Oona to face her past in order, finally, to be free of it. Heralding a singularly gifted new voice in fiction, The Island Child is a timeless story of birth and betrayal, storms and shipwrecks and fairy children, and the weight of long-buried secrets.

About the Author

MOLLY AITKEN was born in Scotland in 1991 and brought up in Ireland. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University where she was awarded the Janklow and Nesbit Prize for her novel. She was shortlisted for Writing Magazine's fairy tale retelling prize and has a story in the Irish Imbas Celtic Mythology Collection 2017. She lives in Sheffield, England.

Praise For…

“An exquisite debut from an exciting new voice in Irish fiction . . . There’s a lot to love about The Island Child . . . Aitken’s prose is more generous—and more old-fashioned—than that of her fellow countrywoman, Sally Rooney . . . She writes with particular power when her characters are in extremis. This could so easily have been overdone. Aitken takes it right to the line, and no further—that is a real skill.—Ella Cory-Wright, The Telegraph

“Haunting . . . Aitken’s prose is by turns placidly lyrical, humorous, and sharply pointed . . . Bold and perceptive, Aitken’s self-assured storytelling and understanding of classic themes stand out in contemporary Irish fiction.” Publishers Weekly (starred)
“Aitken brings a gut-pummelling mix of folklore, feminism and psychological trauma to her wild debut tale of mothers impelled to take out on their daughters the sins committed against them.” —Claire Allfree, Daily Mail
“Aitken’s evocative prose immerses us in island life . . . The novel excels at depicting [these] hermetic communities and liminal landscapes . . . Oona is a wonderful creation, alive on the page . . . The success of the book is the vibrancy of its writing and narrative voice. Readers will be carried along by Oona whose struggles are full of pathos.”—Sarah Gilmartin, Irish Times
“A confident tale of generational conflict and continuity . . . Inspired in part by Irish folklore and in part by Persephone, this is a story steeped in fable, but also inescapably rooted in the real world.”Irish News
The Island Child is an evocative and original tale exploring motherhood, told in rich, beautiful prose. A wonderful debut.”—Jenny Quintana, author of The Missing Girl

“It’s a rare pleasure to come across quite such an accomplished novel as The Island Child. This is a work positively brimming with pathos and emotion, articulated in truly exquisite prose. Oona is a captivating narrator. She’s alive on the page.” —Nathan Filer, author of The Shock of the Fall
The Island Child is the story of a mother’s relationship with a misbegotten daughter, sensitively and subtly told.”—Fay Weldon, CBE, award-winning author of 34 novels
“A magical, elemental tale. Exploring loss and love, motherhood and freedom and the transformative power of stories, The Island Child is a wonderful debut.” —Jess Kidd, author of Himself, The Hoarder, and Things in Jars
“Aitken stitches together many themes—folk-legend, family saga, love story, coming of age tale. The result is the sort of book you want to sink into a hot bath with and not emerge until it’s finished.” —Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, author of Harmless Like You and Starling Days

“A beautiful wrench of a book. I can still feel it tingling under my skin.” Katie Hale, author of My Name Is Monster
“I read The Island Child in a day, and I know I’ll be coming back to it. It reads like a dream. Written in quietly sorcerous prose, this novel combines the uncluttered abstraction of a fable with the odd calamitous detail. Like the casts of fairy stories, Aitken’s characters can stand for as much as you want them to—but they’re also fully realised individuals who come to you through peeks and glances, so that without being able to pinpoint how it happened, you know them, and feel you always have. This is a thrillingly original debut, and I can’t wait to see what Aitken does next.”Naoise Dolan, author of Exciting Times

Product Details
ISBN: 9780525658375
ISBN-10: 0525658378
Publisher: Knopf
Publication Date: July 28th, 2020
Pages: 352
Northshire Manchester Store

Northshire Manchester
4869 Main Street
Manchester Center, VT 05255
ph. 802.362.2200
ph. (toll free) 800.437.3700
Daily 10am-6pm
Directions to Manchester

Northshire Saratoga Store

Northshire Saratoga
424 Broadway
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
ph. 518.682.4200
ph. (toll free) 855.339.5990
Daily 10am-6pm
Directions to Saratoga Springs