Review: Mayflies by Andrew O’Hagan

Title: Mayflies

Author: Andrew O’Hagan

Pages: 288 Pages

Publisher: Faber & Faber

The Blurb

Everyone has a Tully Dawson: the friend who defines your life.

In the summer of 1986, in a small Scottish town, James and Tully ignite a brilliant friendship based on music, films and the rebel spirit. With school over and the locked world of their fathers before them, they rush towards the climax of their youth: a magical weekend in Manchester, the epicentre of everything that inspires them in working-class Britain. There, against the greatest soundtrack ever recorded, a vow is made: to go at life differently. Thirty years on, half a life away, the phone rings. Tully has news.

Mayflies is a memorial to youth’s euphorias and to everyday tragedy. A tender goodbye to an old union, it discovers the joy and the costs of love.

The Review

What can I say about Andrew O’Hagan’s Mayflies that will do it justice; to accurately describe how perfect this book is? I can’t come up with anything except that this is the book I have been waiting to read for a long time.

It is essentially a book about the family you choose for yourself and how those friends become the most important people in your life. They are the ones that know you best. The ones who have seen you at your worst and not only love you for it but mercilessly mock you because they are the only ones who can get away with it.

What is brilliant but brutal about Mayflies is the highs and lows. When you think something bad is going to happen or a character won’t amount to much he pulls the rug from under you, defying your expectations and ultimately keeping you on your toes.

Mayflies will definitely be appearing in my top ten of the year list.

Mayflies by Andrew O’Hagan is available now.

For more information regarding Faber & Faber (@FaberBooks) please visit

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