The Pathless Country
Winner of the J G Farrell Award and an Irish Writers' Centre Novel Fair
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’.
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
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