Closed Doors: A Novel (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

In young Michael Murray, author O'Donnell has articulated one of the most beguiling and authentic voices of a child I’ve found in a book. Michael’s growing awareness of the opposite sex has become intertwined with the bewildering circumstances of an incident involving his mother. Mystified and ravenously curious on both counts, he propels the novel as he sifts through the truths and lies of his small family and town on a Scottish island. His story gripped me, building into a phenomenally powerful, suspenseful, and finally gratifying read. Bravo! ~ John

— From John


A young boy on a small Scottish island where everyone knows everything about everyone else, will discover that a secret is a dangerous thing in this tense and brilliant tale of from Lisa O'Donnell, the bestselling author of The Death of Bees, winner of the 2013 Commonwealth Book Prize.

Eleven-year-old Michael Murray is the best at two things: keepy-uppies and keeping secrets. His family thinks he's too young to hear grown-up stuff, but he listens at doors; it's the only way to find out anything. And Michael's heard a secret, one that might explain the bruises on his mother's face.

When the whispers at home and on the street become too loud to ignore, Michael begins to wonder if there is an even bigger secret waiting to be discovered. Scared of what might happen if anyone finds out, and desperate for life to be normal again, Michael sets out to piece together the truth. But he also has to prepare for the upcoming talent show, keep an eye out for Dirty Alice, his arch-nemesis, and avoid eating Granny's watery stew.

Closed Doors is a vivid evocation of the fears and freedoms of childhood and a powerful tale of love, the loss of innocence, and the importance of family in difficult times.

Praise For…

“Writing in a child’s voice is risky, but Lisa O’Donnell pulls it off in her second novel. . . . Ms. O’Donnell avoids triteness in this story of lost innocence, favoring candor and dark humor in the aftermath of violence.”

“There’s loss of innocence here, but the overwhelming tone is warm and sparky; O’Donnell shows how a shattered family can remake itself, and Michael’s narrative voice is delightful—observant, thoughtful, comical, and thoroughly believable.”

“An engaging page-turner that effectively explores the trials and tribulations of childhood with warmth and humor.”

“[O’Donnell] has fashioned yet another humane and compulsive read, grounded in a realism which, depicted through a child’s eyes—with that hint of a child’s surreal perception—gathers together violence, humor, and love in a most believable way.”

“A skillfully told story of a boy’s struggle to come to terms with family secrets and their potentially terrible consequences. A sharp, witty, and heartbreaking second novel from a dynamic new talent.”

“Sweet and sad, this is a coming-of-age story with dark secrets—and love—at its heart.”

Closed Doors demonstrates just as much skill, empathy and insight as its predecessor….Closed Doors is all about the voice—Michael’s 11-year-old world is entirely convincing….a hugely accomplished and engaging piece of storytelling.”

“A dazzling new novel. . . . A moving story that stakes a lasting, and disturbing, emotional claim on O’Donnell’s readers.”
Product Details
ISBN: 9780062271907
ISBN-10: 0062271903
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Publication Date: May 19th, 2015
Pages: 272
Language: English
Series: P.S. (Paperback)