Something Bigger: Bringing an Irish-American family saga to vivid life

Sheila Killian has deftly fictionalised and recreated the events that led to her grand-aunt leaving Alabama and moving north to New York

Sheila Killian’s Something Bigger succeeds in bringing a little-known period of history to life, from an Irish-speaking mother keening day and night on Marcella’s voyage to Eamon de Valera’s American fundraising tour.


Something Bigger

By Sheila Killian

Caritas Press, €16.40

At the outset of Sheila Killian’s debut novel, Father Jimmy Coyle makes a rare return visit to his home outside Athlone in the early 20th century. He plans to bring one sister back to America and give her a chance of a better life. His older sibling Fran would love to go, but then there would be nobody to look after their ageing mother. So 14-year-old ...