Big Girl, Small Town (MP3 CD)

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Staff Reviews


It’s just a few years after The Troubles have wound down with the peace agreement, but it’s still not a good idea for Protestants to cross to the Catholic part of town after dark. For Majella O’Neill, it’s personal – her uncle and now her grandma has been murdered, her uncle has disappeared, and her ma’s a bit of a mess. Majella, a big woman whose comfortable in her body, works the night shift in chip shop, with the story written diary style, over the course of a week. Big Girl, Small Town is more of a character novel, so not much happens , but Majella’s presence explodes over the pages. She’s on the spectrum but keenly observant and also very funny. I’m not always crazy about reading stories in dialect, but Irish slang is fascinating, plus I didn’t really know until now that battered and fried sausage was a thing. What have I been missing? And until you read Big Girl, Small Town, I can say the same for you. 

— Daniel Goldin

December 2020 Indie Next List


“You might fall in love with this rough, bawdy, funny, and heart-wrenching novel because of the skill with which Michelle Gallen gives you the cadences and nuances of English as spoken in small-town Northern Ireland. You might fall in love because Gallen is showing you a working-class setting seldom depicted on either side of the pond, an atmosphere of sweat, grease, and labor, of Friday night pubs and Saturday hangovers, of people bursting with shattered dreams and electric intelligence. But you’ll most fall in love with Majella O’Neill, the narrator. She is unapologetically and completely herself, and unlike anyone I’ve met in fiction before. Through O’Neill, Gallen offers an outlook and experience that I’d happily share with other readers.”
— Robert McDonald, The Book Stall, Winnetka, IL



Product Details
ISBN: 9781664693555
ISBN-10: 1664693556
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Publication Date: December 1st, 2020
Language: English