The Crocodile by the Door


Tibradden is a farmhouse in the Dublin mountains, where the city meets the country – or, in other words, where housing estates and golf courses encroach on lands grazed by sheep and cattle. When Selina Guinness and her partner, Colin, both young academics, moved in with Selina’s uncle Charles, an elderly bachelor, they had no idea what the coming years held for them: a crash course in farming, tense discussions with helicopter-borne property developers, human tragedy, and the challenge of dragging a quasi-feudal estate into the twenty-first century. With an eye to the colorful history of the house and to the often troubled history of relations between Ireland’s landed gentry and their tenants and employees, The Crocodile by the Door provides a rich family narrative, a snapshot of the uncertain future facing Irish farmers, a classic property drama and, above all, a moving account of life, labour and loss on a hillside overlooking Dublin.

“A memoir so exceptional that it deserves to be ranked as the Irish Book of the Year, regardless of category,” Irish Independent.

“Out of the complexities of attachment, and out of a knowledge, hard-won, of what true dereliction is, Guinness has written a remarkable book,” The Guardian.

“Guinness’s first book, while rich in charm, is also poised, moving and – by the end of a heart-wrenching journey – surprisingly triumphant… the author turns the story into something close to a small masterpiece,” The Telegraph *****

Savage Sunday Book of the Month, Bord Gais Energy Book Club.