The first book to be featured on the Sara Cox Radio 2 Book Club will be A Keeper, the brilliant second novel by Graham Norton. It is released on Thursday 4 October and Graham will be on the show on Wednesday 10 October.
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Elizabeth Keane returns to Ireland after her mother’s death, intent only on wrapping up that dismal part of her life. There is nothing here for her, she wonders if there ever was. The house of her childhood is stuffed full of useless things, her mother’s presence already fading. When she chances upon a small stash of letters the past begins to break open at last, casting a shadow across Elizabeth’s present – and her future.
40 years earlier a young woman stumbles from a remote stone house, hurrying into the darkness away from the cliffs and the sea. She has no sense of where she is going only that she must keep on.
This compelling new novel confirms Graham Norton’s status as a fresh, literary voice. With skill and sensitivity Norton once again demonstrates his assuredness at drawing memorable characters in possession of all those frailties, longings and flaws that make us human.
Selection panel review
The book was selected with the help of a panel of library staff from across the UK. Our readers loved A Keeper – here are some of their comments:
“I read this in one sitting and the story picked you up and swept you along until the very end. The book starts with Elizabeth going back to Ireland to pack up her mother’s house who has recently passed away. Whilst staying at the house she finds a bundle of letters from her father, who she has never met, to her mother prior to when they were married. Here starts a story that was very carefully written and I was thoroughly engrossed. The story goes backwards and forwards and I don’t want to give much away, but suffice to say there is heartbreak, kidnap, murder and a good dose of Irish storytelling. Would I recommend this book? Absolutely.”
“Darker than Holding (his first novel), A Keeper is once again set in rural Ireland, this time on the West Coast in a tiny village called Buncarragh. Elizabeth Keane returns home to bury her mother Patricia, however in doing so she inadvertently digs up the past with the discovery of a bunch of hidden letters that give her an indication to who her father was and why her mother never spoke of him. I enjoyed the setting, the bleakness and the tense, claustrophobic sense of foreboding. Graham Norton proves that he’s more than a chat show host with a comedy background with this novel. Definitely a contender.”
“As with Holding, this book is beautifully written with great characters. I think it will have a wide appeal, easy to get into and with enough going on to lead to a good discussion. Definitely one to recommend!”
About the author
Graham Norton is one of the UK’s best loved broadcasters. He presents The Graham Norton Show on BBC1, has a weekly show on BBC Radio 2, and writes a column for the Telegraph. He is the winner of eight BAFTA awards. Born in Dublin and raised in West Cork, Norton now lives in London.
His debut novel Holding was a commercial and critical success, winning Norton the Irish Independent Popular Fiction award at the Bord Gáis Irish Book Awards in 2016. It was also chosen for the Radio 2 Book Club in 2016.
Tune in to Sara Cox’s show on Wednesday 10 October to hear a live interview with Graham.
Want to find out more? Take a look at the Radio 2 Book Club Twitter feed.