Nicholas Coughlan is twelve years old when his father, an Irish civil servant, announces that God has commanded him to become a painter. He abandons the family and a wife who is driven to despair. Years later, Nicholas's own civil-service career is disrupted by tragic news: his father has burned down the house, with all his paintings and himself in it.
Isabel Gore is the daughter of a poet. She's a passionate girl, but her brother is the real prodigy, a musician. And yet this family, too, is struck by tragedy: a seizure leaves the boy mute and unable to play. Years later, Isabel will continue to somehow blame herself, casting off her own chances for happiness.
And then, the day after Isabel's wedding to man she doesn't love, Nicholas arrives on her western isle, seeking his father's last surviving painting. Suddenly the winds of fortune begin to shift, sweeping both these souls up with them. Nicholas and Isabel, it seems, were always meant to meet. But it will take a series of chance events--and perhaps, a proper miracle--to convince both to follow their hearts to where they're meant to be.
About the Author
Niall Williams's work includes stage plays, screenplays, nonfiction (co-written with his wife, Christine Breen), and eight novels. He has twice been longlisted for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and his latest novel, History of the Rain, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Four Letters of Love, his first novel, was an international bestseller upon publication, translated into over twenty languages, and a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Williams lives in the west of Ireland.
"A compelling meditation on love, art and the vicissitudes of fate." --San Francisco Chronicle
"This book can rightly claim its place among the classics of Irish literarure. A wonderfully affecting love story." --Belfast Telegraph
"A breathtaking affirmation of magic, miracles and the power of human love." --The Times
"Thoughtful, wonderfully wrought passages that soar and soar. Highly recommended." --Library Journal
"Four Letters of Love is formed with an unusual authority and grace, and it is filled with marvelous characters, large and small, all depicted with an understated veracity." --The New York Times Book Review
"While a wealth of impressions linger from this debut, two words come most often to mind in describing it: Spellbinding. Brilliant." --Kirkus Reviews