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The Good Son
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The Good Son

By Paul McVeigh
Published by Salt Publishing Ltd
ISBN 9781784630232
Spring 2016


Set in Northern Ireland in the 1980s, The Good Son is a funny, frightening and ultimately moving story centred around Mickey Donnelly, a boy struggling to come of age against the backdrop of bitter and brutal surroundings.

Author's Biography

Born in Belfast, Paul began his writing career as a playwright before moving to London where he wrote comedy shows, which were performed at the Edinburgh Festival and in London's West End. His short stories have been published in literary journals and anthologies. The Good Son is his first novel.


"A highly commendable debut, convincing in its realism" Lesley McDowell, The Independent 

"a truly affecting and absorbing novel." Kellie Chambers, Ulster Tatler 

"one of the most beguiling and endearing narrators I have encountered in a long time. McVeigh and The Good Son are destined for prizes." Phil Clement, Structo Magazine 

"The effect is often very funny and then touching; the injustice of a line spent half in fear, the pleasure of a life lived half in laughter." Jane Graham, The Big Issue 

"The Good Son is bursting with action, love, loss, betrayal and so much more" Culture Northern Ireland 

"You will completely fall in love with Mickey." Anna James, We Love This Book 

"This novel envelops the reader with its humanity and its down-to-earth humour leaves you laughing." BookTrust 

"The Good Son has a warm heart, and had this reader hoping against hope that somehow Mickey will survive" Clariss Burden, The Tablet 

"Heartbreaking … gripping" The Guardian 

"poignant, chilling, alarmingly real" The Irish Times 

"revelatory and stunning" The Hu‑ffington Post

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Reader Comments

Brilliant book
Poignant, insightful, funny, compelling - beautiful.
Wonderful characters, voice and tension that make The Good Son completely gripping from the first page.
A beautifully written, heartwarming coming of age story
An excellent read - totally authentic
Beautifully written and powerfully plotted - a stunning first novel.
A wonderful book - my book group really enjoyed it.
The characters drew you in. Flawed and vulnerable with hardened exteriors so reminiscent of my own Northern Irish Catholic family.
Lovely engaging read and insight into the troubles
Wonderful. Warm, witty and completely genuine
It's too good not to win.
A touching, affectionate and gritty read. I enjoyed it immensely.
A humane and intelligent book, about a working class lad growing up in a dysfunctional family in Belfast in the time of the Troubles. A very compelling read.
Fantastic read
An uplifting coming-of-age story and a great read!
Fabulous book!
From the opening page of Paul McVeigh’s debut novel The Good Son, I cared deeply about his central character Mickey Donnelly, frequently forgetting Mickey was fictitious. I was so engaged I kept wondering how I could help this bright, intelligent, yet innocent child as he clumsily negotiated the path of a young gay boy growing up in a dysfunctional working class family in Belfast during the time of the Troubles. Mickey’s stoic resilience, humour, and naivety, coupled with his innate emotional intelligence made me laugh and made me cry. But McVeigh’s novel is much more than the story of an intelligent but lonely young boy. Its political backdrop provides an excellent social commentary on life in Northern Ireland during the time of the Troubles.
A fantastic story told from the point of view of young Mickey growing up in The Troubles. You feel the tension and you get to know the very heart of him. Great comic moments as well as heart wrenching tragedy.
Such a wonderful read. Fell in love with Mickey Donnelly from the very start. So well written. Paul McVeigh "sharpen your pencil" we want more Mickey Donnelly. Fionna Farrell
An absolutely fantastic read
I pondered this novel for days after finishing--and during the reading process. "The Good Son" in the book struggled on many levels, being pulled in many different directions. He would discover information only to find it led to more secrets and unknowns that he really did need to know -- but did he want to? Always, the fretting about consequences with knowing the bad with the good. The ongoing tension caused me to care for the community, not just the characters.
Warm endearing and informing - perfect combination
I LOVED this book. Beautifully written with a warm heart.
This is a wonderful coming-of-age book that manages to mesh a vivid portrayal of a child's inner world with the complex political situation that colours his every experience. Phenomenal debut novel.
A great read with a great cast of characters...
A quirky, charming book with a great deal of sadness written into the prose. It has the perfect balance of comedy and trauma.
tremendous story driven by ripping dialogue and believable characters. Its a gutsy instinctive tale of its time and place. It's set in Belfast during the Troubles - but there is much that will ring true today for many communities worldwide. By the end of the book you will have taken Mickey's tale personally and be absolutely running down the streets with him.
A great read!
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