J A M E S   H A R P U R          

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The Pathless Country

Cinnamon Press.

Winner of the J G Farrell Award and an Irish Writers' Centre Novel Fair Award

 1900s London is for Patrick Bowley, fresh from rural Galway, a place of mind-expanding encounters with mystics, suffragettes, theosophists and free-thinkers. Drawn into the world of such luminaries as Jiddu Krishnamurti, Annie Besant and WB Yeats, Patrick seems to be on a quest for meaning that will bear fruit. But a bruising failure in romance leaves him disillusioned with London and its class divisions. In spiritual crisis, he flees to the familiarity of rural Ireland. But Patrick finds no peace and as Europe slides towards war and Ireland towards rebellion, his longing to shut out the world is challenged by a vocation to preach peace in Ireland that will not be quieted. And so he begins an epic pilgrimage to Dublin, arriving days before the 1916 Easter Rising. It is here that Patrick’s journey reaches a gripping climax—one that finally reveals the true nature of the ‘pathless country’.

 James Harpur’s debut novel deftly weaves a story of spiritual awakening with fin de siècle alternative thought, love and political history, exploring how conscience and spiritual quest survive in an atmosphere of war, sectarianism and class hierarchy.

 ‘A wonderful novel … psychological, intense, pulsing …’ Thomas McCarthy

 ‘James Harpur’s verse and non-fiction have been praised by everybody from Maggie O’Farrell to Stephen Fry … His poems are lyrical and often funny, qualities that can also be found in The Pathless Country, a story of spiritual awakening against the backdrop of war in England and Ireland …It is Harpur’s lyricism and eye for details that makes this such a compelling read … The Pathless Country is a triumph of character and captures the point where internal and external conflicts collide.’     

Andrea Cleary, Sunday Business Post




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