Martine McDonagh (a published student)
January 2013
Ten to Ten

About the publication

After Phoenix is a raw, emotive portrayal of a family pushed to its limits by grief. Personal love and loss are set against the backdrop of political turmoil in 1974's England. A compelling and haunting read. Lizzie Enfield, author of Uncoupled and What You Don't Know December 1973: The miners are on strike and the Jacobs family is preparing for what Prime Minister Ted Heath warns will be the hardest Christmas since the war. Phoenix is home after his first term at Oxford, his sister Penny dances to Gary Glitter in her bedroom and their father, JJ writes his newspaper column in the garden shed. January 1974: The country is in turmoil and the Jacobs family is falling apart. Phoenix is dead. His mother Katherine is admitted to the psychiatric hospital. JJ moves into the shed. And Penny is trying to carry on as normal...


Given that the book’s subject is grief, and that grief is a dulling, leaden, grey and tedious feeling, it’s amazing how vital, entertaining and even funny After Phoenix is, without in any way shortchanging the reality of the experience.

Caustic Cover Critic