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Novelist Mike McCormack on Notes From a Coma and his Irish Roots

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Published on Apr 4, 2013

This interview was recorded at Politics & Prose bookstore in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, March 17, 2013.

In Notes from a Coma, JJ O' Malley, adopted from a Romanian orphanage by a single father in the west of Ireland, grows up a permanent outsider, and yet he finds his place in the community. At least until his world is shaken by the death of his best friend, and he volunteers for the "Somnos Project," an experimental program testing deep coma as a potential option in the EU penal system.

In a prison ship docked in Killary Harbour, JJ is hooked up to monitoring devices that feed out to the Internet, and he and his fellow guinea pigs become global celebrities. A beautifully rendered look at small-town Irish life, and a far-reaching investigation of politics, neuroscience, global communications, and the ethics of incarceration, Notes from a Coma is a major work from one of the world's bravest and most unusual novelists.

About the Author
Mike McCormack has published a collection of short stories, Getting It InThe Head, and a novel, Crowe's Requiem. In 1996, McCormack was awarded the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature. In 1998, Getting it in the Head was voted a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. A story from the collection, "The Terms," was adapted into an award-winning short film.

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