Walking People
Mary Beth Keane

Book cover image

Narrated By: Aoife McMahon

Duration: 14 hours and 55 minutes

What to expect

Brought to you by Penguin.


Rural Ireland, the 1960s, and Greta Cahill must abandon her deserted village to follow her fearless sister Johanna onto a ship bound for America.

It's here in New York that she steps out of her sister's shadow and in to a life of her own, rich with love, work and family.

As the years pass Greta longs to revisit the past - to see her mother, to show her what she has made of herself - but she must protect a family secret, decades old.

So when her children conspire to unite the worlds she's kept so carefully apart, Greta fears she could lose it all...

A compassionate story of self-discovery and identity, The Walking People has remarkable range and power.

Praise for Mary Beth Keane:

'A novel of great compassion and understanding . . . rich with story' JOHN BOYNE on Ask Again, Yes

'A fearless writer' LISA TADDEO

'A writer of extraordinary depth, feeling and wit' Meg Wolitzer

'I'll read everything she writes' Liane Moriarty

'Immersive and deeply moving'
Anna Hope

© Mary Beth Keane 2021 (P) Penguin Audio 2021


Modern and contemporary fiction, Family life fiction, Narrative theme: Love and relationships, Narrative theme: Sense of place

Listen to a sample

One of the most exceptional novels of the summer . . . Has the makings of a future classic.

Sunday Express

Praise for Ask Again, Yes


The new Little Fires Everywhere


Keane's previous novel Ask Again, Yes, was on my best Books of 2019, and this is just as good. Its slow, melodic pace proves we don't always need fast action and twists. Set between Ireland and new York, it's about two sisters; one craves adventure, the other, family; both have secrets

Prima, 'Best Books of March'

A pleasantly accessible novel that will be popular with book clubs . . . Keane is a nuanced observer

Sunday Times

A moving and sweeping story that takes readers from the west coast of Ireland to America, following a family of immigrants across the different decades


An epic story about immigration, identity and family . . . Keane portrays the complex and, at times, challenging lives of these working-class women with tenderness and compassion


A beautiful novel, bursting at the seams with empathy


An epic yarn . . . an evocative portrait of the immigrant, but also adds greater subtlety to this theme of belonging

RTE Guide

Absolutely brilliant, a must read for our time

Powerful and moving . . . Mary Beth Keane is a writer of extraordinary depth, feeling and wit. Readers will love this book, as I did

Meg Wolitzer, author of <i>The Female Persuasion</i>

An American dream story, told over decades, taking its reader from rural 1915 Ireland to the streets of New York and back again

Times Radio

A compelling drama of transatlantic Irish life

Engrossing . . . Captures the windswept grittiness of Irish poverty as vividly as the technicolour hustle and bustle of 1960s New York. The Walking People is the kind of novel you simply don't want to end

Daily Express

This atmospheric read that spans from 1950s Ireland to modern-day America and follows the fortunes of a woman on the run from a family secret

Good Housekeeping

Atmospheric, moving and brilliantly well-written

Daily Mail

I'll read everything she writes

I was a big fan of Ask Again, Yes and this is every bit as good

Good Housekeeping

Marries a deliciously old-fashioned style of storytelling with a fresh take on the immigrant experience . . . A warm, involving family drama


Immersive and deeply moving