I am very happy to be part of the book tour for this novel and to be able to support the talented Liz Nugent today by sharing an excerpt of Our Little Cruelties!
Title: Our Little Cruelties
Author: Liz Nugent
Publisher: Penguin Books /IR
Date of Publication: Jan 21st 2021
Genre: Mystery & Thriller
Number of pages: 384
This story begins with a funeral. One of three brothers is dead, mourned by his siblings. But which one? And how? And, most importantly: why?
William, Brian, and Luke are each born a year apart in a lower middle class Catholic family in 1960s Dublin. William, the eldest, rises to the top of the heap in the film industry as a successful movie producer. Luke, the baby of the family, surprises everyone by morphing into a worldwide pop star. Brian, the compliant middle son, is the eternal adult in the room: the helpful, steady one, the manager of finances and careers.
But none of them is actually quite what he seems. Wounded by childhood, they have betrayed one another in myriad ways, hiding behind little lies that have developed into full blown treachery. With an unnerving eye for the complexities of families, Nugent delves into the secret life of a deeply troubled household and provides stunning insights into the many forces that shape us from childhood.
Liz Nugent’s new work of fiction follows three working class Irish brothers, and delves into the many ways families can wreak emotional havoc across generations.
Part 1: BROTHERS
My daughter, Daisy, had just been born and Susan was feeling the strain of new motherhood. I was twenty-five and trying to get a film production company off the ground to make short films with my college buddy Gerald, who wanted to direct, but there were money problems and I sensed that Filmbase would take some persuasion to fund a new com- pany. Mum had lent me some seed money and Gerald had a generous uncle who helped out financially too. I had rented an office in a city attic and ordered some letterhead note- paper on which I was making desperate pleas to the Arts Council, Dublin Corporation, the National Lottery and any organizations I could think of with money. I was working hard, and then up at night with the baby a lot of the time, and maybe I was more irritable than I should have been, but when I came home in the evenings after a long slog in the office, the last thing I wanted to see was my rock-star little brother, sprawled across my sofa while my still-sore wife perched uncomfortably on the dining chair, baby-sick stains on each shoulder, unkempt and exhausted.
In the beginning, I joked with him and pretended to be pleased to see him because if I couldn’t get finance from any- where else, I was going to have to ask him, though that would be my last resort.
‘Luke! Shouldn’t you be out somewhere snorting cocaine off a super-model’s arse?’
Luke was twenty-three. His second album was a massive success. He had toured constantly for three years but was now on a hiatus of sorts. He lived in a big Georgian terrace house on Waterloo Road, bought for cash two years after he dropped out of college to sing in a band. We, on the other hand, were renting a one-bedroom mews nearby with no central heating and unreliable plumbing.
We were mystified by Luke’s stardom. Luke looked waifish with his big eyes and long hair, and a thin, reedy voice which would have travelled nowhere without amplification. Brian and I were jealous. We were older and we had worked to pay our way through college, earning respectable enough 2:I arts degrees. Luke had surprised us all by getting the results to study engineering but then spent his two years smoking hash by the pond, reading poetry and rehearsing with The Womb- stones. At one stage, he attached a collar to a hen and walked it through the campus. All for affectation. We never knew where he got the hen or where it ended up afterwards.
For some unquantifiable reason, he could attract women. I don’t understand how. Women are weird. He could take or leave them and never seemed to be particularly attached to any of them. It got to the stage where I didn’t bother trying to remember their names any more because there’d be a new one along any minute.
When he got famous as a solo act, Luko, he was generous, bringing us all out to join him on tour in London and Lis- bon, splashing cash around like it was nothing to him. His name had opened doors for me in the arts scene, but that spring, there had been no tour invites, no lavish awards cere- monies, no rock ’n’ roll parties. He’d just turn up at our house in time for dinner, at least twice a week.
That was always the thing about Luke. He couldn’t take a hint. He’d sit on our sofa staring at the television, though not appearing to take in whatever programme was on. He’d eat the dinner that Susan or I prepared, ignore our baby, and as soon as he was fed, he’d leave without much of a thank you. Eventu- ally, I brought up the subject of finance and my funding difficulties and he nodded and grunted. No offer was forth- coming. I was forced to ask.
So, what do you think??? I don’t have sibling so I love novels that take me into families that are different from my own!
Publication date is Jan 21st but you can make sure to get your copy!
My biggest thanks to Penguin and the wonderful Ellie for the opportunity to be part of this tour!