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Echolalia

Echolalia

by Briohny Doyle

Set in a fictional regional city beset by drought, Echolalia follows a family in the advent and aftermath of unspeakable tragedy, the narrative moving fluidly between the 'Before' and 'After'.

Format
Paperback
Category
Fiction
Publisher
Penguin Random House
Publish Date
June 2021

When we first meet Emma Cormac, she's a young mother barely coping with her three children under five; Emma in the After is a broken women with no familial ties, struggling through a twelve step program. Before, Barbara Cormac is as much CEO as matriarch, the relentless pursuer of financial and social success for her family; After, she is reduced to the keeper of what was, and what could have been. Before, Clementine is a wilful four year old; After, a fragile young artist returning obsessively to the same dark subject. In the Before, Arthur is a not-yet verbal, difficult child. In the After, he is finding his neuro-atypical way at MIT. And in the Before, Robbie is a baby, the longed for male heir and hope for the Cormac legacy. He hasn't survived into the After.As the central mystery at the heart of the novel-what happened to baby Robbie?-unfurls, Echolalia swings readers to align and realign ourselves with different characters, provoking tough moral questions of culpability and forgiveness. It explores, with clear eyes but unwavering empathy, what might drive a mother to do the unthinkable. Doyle touches on environmental anxieties, the refugee crisis, class-consciousness, and inter-generational rifts. Echolalia is a portrait of a woman, a family, and a country in crisis. It is a deeply moving and memorable story and Briohny Doyle is a real talent.

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