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Elaine Canning

Belfast, 2007. Eighty-eight-year-old Michael Doherty lies in an open coffin, listening to those who have come to pay their respects. Despite his dead son Cormac’s protests, he’s not yet ready to pass over.

His granddaughter is the reason. Thirty-something Sarah has inexplicably abandoned her plans to settle in Spain. She is scarred by the Sandstone City and Michael doesn’t understand why – yet it is a city he knows only too well, populated with his own ghosts.

Michael is granted a special grace period of forty days. Forty days to discover and heal his granddaughter’s trauma. Forty days to face his own past. Forty days to find peace before he must make his final departure.


The Sandstone City is a novel that questions what happens when we lose ourselves, when we lose those we love and which fragments of the self are worth holding onto. It is a story about the choices we make, the choices denied us and how we navigate what’s left. 

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