Corvus acquires ‘The Temple House Vanishing’ by Rachel Donohue

19th December 2018

Corvus is delighted to announce their recent acquisition of the stunning debut, The Temple House Vanishing, plus a second, untitled novel, by Rachel Donohue.

Rachel Donohue was the 2017 Hennessy New Irish Writer of the Year Award overall winner, for her short story writing. The Hennessy award was established in 1971; previous winners include Hugo Hamilton, Neil Jordan, Patrick McCabe, Colum McCann and Frank McGuinness. The Temple House Vanishing is Rachel’s first full work of fiction and will be published as a lead title by Corvus, Atlantic Books, in early 2020.

The Temple House Vanishing is an upmarket mystery set in an elite Catholic boarding school for girls in the 1990s. The school becomes mired in rumours of a scandal suppressed; a seventeen-year-old schoolgirl and her charismatic twenty-five-year-old male art teacher have disappeared without trace. Donohue takes us back to the months before the disappearance and gradually excavates a dark and complex tale of sexual longing and jealousy, confused and all the more intense for being hidden. Unrequited love can act as a sickness, something alien that takes over the body. Donohue brings alive the consequences of such yearning in a highly repressive environment. The result is a dark and eerie tale that captivates.

Sara O’Keeffe, Editorial Director said:

‘I fell in love with this book from the first page, with its brilliant web of relationships and almost cult-like gravitational pull. It is a novel awash with dark colours, glorious images and dangerous emotion. And always, there is a sense of the nuns, those inky spectres, hovering just out of view but forever watchful. This is a unique and compelling debut – absorbing, complex, riveting. It has just a dash of The Secret History; but also echoes of Picnic at Hanging Rock. Perhaps the best comparison might be to say that it is a sort of twisted Malory Towers for grown-ups. But it remains very much its own creation. We are hugely excited to publish The Temple House Vanishing.

Rachel said:

‘I am delighted to be working with Sara O’Keeffe and the Corvus Atlantic team. The welcome they have given me feels like a first-time author’s dream. Their publishing ambition for The Temple House Vanishing is thrilling and builds in an exciting way on the vision that my agent Ivan Mulcahy and I have had for the book.’