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'.
- 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.