Everything in This Country Must A Novella and Two Stories

Colum McCann




Trade Paperback

160 Pages


Request Desk Copy Request Exam Copy
In this book, McCann turns to the Troubles in Northern Ireland and reveals the contemporary reverberations of political tragedy in the most intimate lives of men and women, parents and children. In the title story, a teenage girl must choose between allegiance to her Catholic father and gratitude to the British soldiers who have saved the family's horse. The young hero of Hunger Strike, a novella, tries to replicate the experience of his uncle, an IRA prisoner on hunger strike. And in "Wood," a small boy does his part for the Protestant marches, concealing his involvement from his blind father.


Praise for Everything in This Country Must

"On every page, McCann's prose flows with a lean, austere majesty . . . The result is a shivery, hard-earned, unforgettable beauty."—Dan Cryer, Newsday

"This book is crisp and clean and full of the wisdom of recognizing the mysterious strength of the individual . . . A brief work of fiction by an extraordinary Irish writer that portrays with amazing precision and truth the terrible emotional forces that drive that rage and fear."—Michael Pakenham, The Baltimore Sun

"[McCann's] fiction is equal parts death and beauty, its inescapable realism uplifted by an exquisitely soulful and visual prose."—Gail Caldwell, The Boston Globe

"McCann's stunning achievement is that he never strikes a dissonant note despite the dissonance in his characters' lives."—Denise Gess, The Washington Post Book World

"There is no denying the discipline that has gone into Everything in This Country Must."—Charles Taylor, The New York Times Book Review

"Captures that peculiar nexus of hormones, deprivation, and political imperative in a Northern Irish child coming of age."—Susan Salter Reynolds, Los Angeles Times Book Review

"[A] stunning new book . . . Told in McCann's lush prose, these stories are both mesmerizing and painful."—Minneapolis Star-Tribune

"McCann has the knack of capturing the intensity of these strongly held views in a low-key prose that underscores their vitriol, and in a way that disturbs the reader's sensibilities."—Richmond Times-Dispatch

"Excellent—this is a powerful and moving collection."—Roddy Doyle

"Masterful. These emotionally charged, beautifully controlled tales can only enhance McCann's already considerable reputation."—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"These are powerful stories—gritty, memorable, and ambitious. The novella goes straight to the heart, both in terms of its theme and its emotional punch."—Edna O'Brien, author of Wild Decembers

"Beautifully, poetically written . . . The need to read them over and over again can't be denied."—Booklist

"McCann's stories are brooding, meditative, and lyrically controlled to that delicate point where the emotion within them intensifies with each succeeding reading and recognition. The political turmoil of Northern Ireland finds here an answering, subtly respondent voice—wonderfully skilled and deeply felt."—Seamus Deane, author of Reading in the Dark

"Further evidence of McCann's remarkable gifts as a prose artist as well as storyteller . . . In each of these pieces, the miracle is how McCann, with prose so terse and spare, is able to create worlds so emotionally complex and moving."—Library Journal

Reviews from Goodreads



Read an Excerpt

Colum McCann is the author of  books including This Side of Brightness, Zoli, Songdogs and Let the Great World Spin. He has received the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, a Pushcart Prize, and was named the first winner of the Grace Kelly Memorial Foundation Award and the Princess Grace Memorial Literary Award. He lives in New York City.
Read the full excerpt


  • Colum McCann

  • Colum McCann is the author of three widely acclaimed novels, Dancer, This Side of Brightness, and Songdogs, as well as a story collection, Fishing in the Sloe-Black River. He has received a Pushcart prize, the Hennessey Award for Irish Writing, and the Irish Rooney Award. He lives in New York City.
  • Colum McCann


    Colum McCann

    Macmillan Speakers Bureau

    represents thought-provoking authors and experts. We can find a speaker uniquely positioned for your audience and budget.

    More info