Download The First Day Audiobook

The First Day Audiobook, by Phil Harrison Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Phil Harrison Narrator: Gerard Doyle Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2017 ISBN: 9781538450420
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Set in Ireland and New York, a debut novel about an affair and its explosive consequences—the sins of the father visited on the son in unexpected and irreversible ways

Outside an east Belfast mission hall, pastor and family man Samuel Orr meets Anna, a young Beckett scholar. They embark on an intense, passionate affair, their connection fueled by their respective love of Christ and Beckett. When Anna becomes pregnant, the affair is revealed. The repercussions are slow to emerge but inescapable, and the fallout when it finally comes is shocking, cruel, and violent.

Over thirty years later, Sam, their son, is in New York, living a steady, guarded life, his childhood and family safely abandoned. But the sins of the fathers are visited often on their children, and the past crashes into his life as violently as in his youth. He is forced to confront the fears he has kept close all these years.

The First Day is the story of an affair and its consequences on family and on faith. It is an intense, questioning novel of the search to understand our origins and to free ourselves from the burdens of our early years.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Gerard Doyle dons his finest Belfast accent in narrating this intense and tangled story…The prose is poetic and wise, and Doyle’s clear and easy delivery ensures that every phrase, every paragraph, every Biblical quote has the sound and weight of an epiphany…Harrison’s novel of exceptional power and grace is read by an exceptional voice. Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.”


  • “Written with burning intensity, this is a powerful novel about marriage, passion, anger, and guilt.”

    Daily Mail (London)

  • “Hugely impressive. A finely written tale which is original, compulsive, and at times chilling.”

    Irish Examiner

  • “Brilliantly written throughout…A truly excellent novel, on all counts…The way [Harrison] can express something essential, some truth that hasn’t occurred to you but makes total sense once it’s pointed out, is very impressive.”

    Irish Independent

  • “Harrison writes well and brings Belfast and the sectarian conflict vividly to life.”

    Catholic Herald

  • “Deeply disturbing, morally challenging…Harrison’s remarkable writing elevates a story that is all the more powerful for its eschewing of easy answers and resolution.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Screenwriter Harrison’s absorbing debut will surprise readers with its ingenious plot twists and nuanced characters.”

    Library Journal

  • “A quiet yet suspenseful look at the lasting repercussions of traumatic events…Harrison’s writing is lyrical and engaging throughout, and he does an excellent job of building tension.”


  • “Harrison’s elegant prose and deeply felt characters create a novel with a fiercely beating heart.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award

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About the Author

Phil Harrison’s first feature film, The Good Man, was released in 2014. His earlier short, Even Gods, won the short-film award at the Belfast, Galway, and Cork Film Festivals in 2011 and was short-listed for the best short script at the 2012 Irish Screenwriting Awards. He lives in Belfast. The First Day is his debut novel.

About the Narrator

Gerard Doyle, a seasoned audio narrator, he has been awarded dozens of AudioFile Earphones Awards, was named a Best Voice in Young Adult Fiction in 2008, and won the prestigious Audie Award for best narration. He was born of Irish parents and raised and educated in England. In Great Britain he has enjoyed an extensive career in both television and repertory theater and toured nationally and internationally with the English Shakespeare Company. He has appeared in London’s West End in the gritty musical The Hired Man. In America he has appeared on Broadway in The Weir and on television in New York Undercover and Law & Order. He has taught drama at Ross School for the several years.