— Hide menu





• Breakfast in Babylon, A novel published in Ireland and UK in 1995 by Wolfhound Press. Published in 1997 in the U.S.A. by Houghton Mifflin.


• More Bread or I’ll Appear, A novel published in the U.S.A. in 1999 by Houghton Mifflin. Published in England in 2000 by Alison & Busby.
Translated into Dutch in 2001 by Nich Von Ditmar.

• Teeth Shall be Provided, A novella published in the UK and Ireland in 1998 as part of an anthology entitled Rover’s Return by Cannongate Press.


• The Pooka, A short story published in 1999 in the UK and Ireland as part of an anthology entitled Shenanigans by Sceptre Press.


• A Sacrificial Shoe, A short story published in 1999 in the UK and Ireland as part of an anthology entitled Fortune Hotel by Penguin Press

• Baby Zero, A novel published in 2007 in the UK and Ireland by Brandon Press.


Emer Martin. Breakfast in Babylon. Mariner Books (Houghton Miffiin), 1997. 321 pp. $12.00.

Emer Martin’s first novel, the winner of a major award when first published last year in her native Ireland, is as brutal as it is beautiful. Set primarily in Paris, with interludes in London, Munich, Amsterdam and Israel, Breakfast in Babylon traces the progress of Isolt, a young Irishwoman, through a European underworld inhabited by punk junkies, beggars, and criminals. She hangs out by day at the Pompidou fountain in Paris and by night in squalid and dangerous squats. Martin writes of this underworld, where drugs and alcohol are the only comforts and where life is short, in a spare, matter-of-fact prose. Isolt, as a woman, is an outsider and her status, or lack of one, allows her to stand outside and observe. One senses that she will retreat from this world as earlier she had retreated from an unhappy childhood in Ireland; that she hopes to arrive at wisdom through extreme experience, but not to succumb to it.
Despite the grim material, Breakfast in Babylon is often a very funny book and shows that Martin possesses in abundance the classic Irish gift for the absurd and the comic so evident in the fiction of Flann O’Brien and Samuel Beckett. It is her light and sure touch which renders the novel so remarkable. Also notable is Martin’s sure register of place and her ability to trace Isolt’s development as a woman as she trudges through the underworld. Breakfast in Babylon also represents a completely new departure for the Irish novel. Martin is the first Irish writer to represent the underside of Irish participation in Europe—a continent not of riches, but of addiction, abuse, nihilism, and despair. An explosive debut. There has never been an Irish novel like it. [Eamonn Wall]


From Our Editors
In the follow-up to her acclaimed debut novel, Breakfast in Babylon, Emer Martin introduces an unforgettably dysfunctional Irish family whose members are paralyzed by the legacy of mental illness and crippling doubt. After her husband’s breakdown and institutionalization, Molly moves her four children from Ireland’s rural west country to Dublin, where her eldest daughter, Aisling, is attending college. Ostensibly her mother’s favorite, Aisling nevertheless takes the first opportunity to disappear without a word. Fifteen years later — time spent “preoccupied with the tyranny of everyday life” — Molly at last persuades her youngest daughter, Keelin, to begin the search for her sister. Following a trail that leads from Dublin to Tokyo to the United States, Keelin at last traces her long-lost sister to Central America, where an uncertain reunion — and a stunning betrayal — awaits.

From the Publisher
At high speed and with wicked humor, Emer Martin introduces us to a family unlike any other. Long after her husband–who is literally unable to cross a threshold–is institutionalized, Molly moves her children from the west country of Ireland to Dublin. She is following her daughter Aisling, her favorite, who is to attend college there. But one summer, Aisling disappears.

Fifteen years later, Molly persuades the youngest and most reliable of her four girls, Caoilfhoinn, to put her own life on hold and find Aisling. Traveling the world with several of her siblings, Caoilfhoinn sees that each is cursed with their father’s affliction, “the doubting disease.” In one way or another, each is stuck, paralyzed. Many questionable adventures, an uncertain reunion, and a stunning betrayal later, Caoilfhoinn is forced to question the familial attachments that have always driven her. As Stephen Dixon wrote of Martin’s first novel, Breakfast in Babylon, the mood here is “hot, mad, and exciting, like a young writer’s…work should be.”