During the final two or three years of his life, I made many surreptitious recordings of John Joe as he sat by the fire. He was in the process of forgetting almost everything he’d ever known. He was fading out of the world and I wanted to record whatever it was he might say before it was too late…
Set around a small family farm on the edge of a bog, a few miles from the river Shannon, Minor Monuments is a collection of essays unfolding from the landscape of the Irish midlands. Taking in the physical and philosophical power of sound and music, and the effects of Alzheimer’s disease on a family, Ian Maleney questions the nature of home, memory, and the complex nature of belonging.
A thought-provoking and quietly devastating meditation on family and loss. With echoes of Tim Robinson, Tara Westover and John Berger, Minor Monuments is a beautiful and unique literary experience.
‘Minor Monuments is beautifully poised between the vivid recollection of experience and subtle reflections on the nature of memory itself. Ian Maleny writes with both a poetic serenity and a starting immediacy, a combination as rare as it is absorbing.’ – Fintan O’Toole
‘Minor Monuments is brilliant, pulsing with intellect and insight, with each observation composed so beautifully as to be deeply moving. This is the kind of book that changes its reader.’ – Lisa McInerney
‘These essays are thoughtful, precise, beautifully controlled, and with a nicely wry humour helping us along the way – this is an extremely fine debut.’ – Kevin Barry
‘Honest, thoughtful, ambitious – a portrait of the essayist as a young man.’ – Emilie Pine
‘what a powerful collection’ – Sara Baume
‘Ian Maleney takes the reader into the close textures of thought and feeling about loss. His means in Minor Monuments are a fine, precise and deep attentiveness to human being and non-being, and a rare freshness, tenderness and beauty of expression.’ – David Hayden
‘Many thanks for the opportunity, and the pleasure, to read Minor Monuments prior to its publication. I greatly admire this book, and haven’t read anything quite like it in a long while. In a world full of noise and frantic movement, Minor Monuments is standing still and listening, and noting, and ruminating. It’s utterly profound.’ – Danny Denton