Author(s): Carys Bray
This is the story of what happens when Issy Bradley dies. It is the story of Ian - husband, father, maths teacher and Mormon bishop - and his unshakeable belief that everything will turn out all right if he can only endure to the end, like the pioneers did. It is the story of his wife Claire's lonely wait for a sign from God and her desperate need for life to pause while she comes to terms with what's happened. It is the story of the agony and hope of Zippy Bradley's first love. The story of Alma Bradley's cynicism and reluctant bravery. And it is the story of seven-year-old Jacob. His faith is bigger than a mustard seed, probably bigger than a toffee bonbon and he's planning to use it to mend his broken family with a miracle.
Incredibly moving, unexpectedly funny and so sharply observed, A Song For Issy Bradley explores the outer reaches of doubt and faith. But mostly it's a story about a family trying to work out how to carry on when their world has fallen apart.
This is the story of what happens when Issy Bradley dies.
Shortlisted for Costa First Novel Award 2014.
"A Song For Issy Bradley is a wonderful novel, in which grace comes crabwise and miracles are never out of the question. Undeniably heartbreaking, it is also compassionate, funny and enriching." --Shelley Harris Independent on Sunday
"Bray slips with thoroughness, imagination and dexterity into each of the characters' consciousness ... [She] is wincingly honest and emotions are portrayed with an assurance that comes from understanding ... A Song for Issy Bradley is a skilful and empathetic dramatisation. The fact that it deals with such distressing subject matter without falling prey to sentimentality makes it all the more admirable ... There are some wonderful one-liners ...Bray's greatest gift, however, is understatement." -- Grace McCleen Guardian
"Happy the debut novelist who can write well but who also has access to extraordinary subject matter. This is an impressive debut from a compassionate, wise and original new voice." --Suzi Feay Independent
"A powerful, heart-breaking book." --Daily Express
"I cannot remember a time when a novel has seduced me so completely ... Bray writes with such clarity, intelligence and authenticity that it feels as if a trusted old friend is telling you the story, that the characters are people you know ... Bray displays warmth and real wit throughout despite the tragic content of this debut novel and the lean beauty of her writing makes it effortless to read" --The Times
"A brilliant debut, compelling and profoundly moving." -- Nathan Filer, Costa winner of THE SHOCK OF THE FALL
"Carys Bray is a strikingly original new voice in fiction. I loved this tender, moving, funny and deeply truthful story about a family and a faith tested to breaking-point." -- Helen Dunmore, author of THE LIE and Orange-shortlisted THE SIEGE
"I loved A SONG FOR ISSY BRADLEY: such courage, warmth and intelligence. Carys Bray sweetly and subtly breaks your heart. It's an incredible debut." -- Charlotte Mendelson, author of Booker-longlisted ALMOST ENGLISH and Orange-shortlisted, WHEN WE WERE BAD
"Such strong writing, with so much fine imagery.very moving. It sings. The characters are completely believable and their grief is conveyed with a truly admirable, unsentimental, lightness of touch, which brought laughter between the tears." -- Emma Henderson, author of Orange-shortlisted GRACE WILLIAMS SAYS IT LOUD
Carys Bray was brought up in a devout Mormon family. In her early thirties she left the church and replaced religion with writing. She was awarded the Scott prize for her debut short story collection Sweet Home. A Song for Issy Bradley is her first novel. She lives in Southport with her husband and four children.