Winner of the Christopher Ewart-Biggs Literary Award, and nominated for the PEN/JR Ackerley prize.
The powerful memoir of a Mullaghmore bombing survivor, as dramatised in THE CROWN
On the August bank holiday weekend in 1979, 14-year-old Timothy Knatchbull went on a boat trip off the shore of Mullaghmore in County Sligo, Ireland, with many members of his family.
By noon, an IRA bomb had destroyed the boat, leaving four dead.
The author survived, but his grandparents, a family friend, and his 14-year-old twin brother did not. Lord Mountbatten, his grandfather – and uncle to the Duke of Edinburgh – was the target, and became one of the IRA’s most high-profile assassinations.
In telling this story for the first time, Knatchbull is not only revisiting the terrible events he and his family lived through, but also writing an intensely personal account of human triumph over tragedy. It is a story of recovery, not just from physical wounds but deep emotional trauma. Knatchbull and his parents were too badly injured to attend the funerals of those killed, a sadness that intensified their profound sense of loss.
Taking place in Ireland at the height of the Troubles, it gives a compelling insight into that period of Irish history. But more importantly it brings home that although tragedy can strike at any moment, the human spirit is able to forgive, to heal and to move on. It will resonate with readers the world over.
‘From a Clear Blue Sky is a minute by minute story of what happened that day, and what happened afterwards. It is a proper four-hanky bawler, and the exactitude of the story is what makes it so moving … He provides a convincing account of the extent to which he has been able to accept, forgive and move on. His narrative power is such that the reader can’t always share his equanimity. It is a book that is as saddening as it is sad – but much more angering than it is angry’ Daily Mail
‘This is an extremely moving book. Beyond providing a phenomenally detailed evocation of his own family’s trauma, Knatchbull has lots of wise things to say about how we survive horrors – of all kinds – in our lives. He writes with great tenderness and an admirable lack of sentimentality’ Zoe Heller
‘Affecting and intimate’ Mail on Sunday
‘Testament to a remarkable, benevolent soul … With this public love letter he has found a way to say goodbye’ The Sunday Times