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Eoghan Walls: The Gospel of Orla


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Seven Stories



The Gospel of Orla is written with immense control and precision so that the voice of the protagonist emerges as alive, individual and memorable. Eoghan Walls manages to make every single emotion Orla feels– every thought, response and action – utterly convincing and fresh and original’ Colm Tóibín


A grieving, spirited, and often in trouble teenage girl named Orla McDevitt meets a man called Jesus who can raise the dead in this stunning debut novel about family, faith, and loss by an acclaimed Northern Irish poet. 


Fourteen-year-old Orla’s mum is dead. She lives in England with her unemployed father and baby sister Lily, but she’s planning to run away to live in Northern Ireland, where her mother is buried. Preoccupied with trouble at home and at school, she accidentally crashes her bike into a man who calls himself Jesus and says he is the Son of God. He has never seen a smartphone. He can raise animals from the dead by blowing into their mouths, including Orla’s cat Sneaky. Orla convinces Jesus to come with her to Ireland to bring her mum back to life and she teaches him how to ride a bike to get there. But Jesus has plans of his own, and after one of his revivals goes horribly wrong, Orla must decide how far she is willing to go to save her mother. A hilarious coming-of-age story, road novel, and meditation on the mysteries of faith and grief.


The Gospel of Orla is an astonishing feat of characterisation and storytelling. The prose is both earthy and sparkling and the story―equal parts bravado and vulnerability―is told with both wit and tenderness. Everyone should read this’ 

Jenn Ashworth, author of Ghosted


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