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Everything in This Country Must

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3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  480 ratings  ·  57 reviews
In his fourth book, Colum McCann turns to the "troubles" in Northern Ireland and reveals the reverberations of political tragedy in the most intimate lives of men and women, parents and children. In the title story, a teenage girl must choose between allegiance to her Catholic father and gratitude to the British soldiers who have saved the family's horse. The young hero of
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Paperback, 160 pages
Published March 7th 2001 by Picador (first published 2000)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,059)
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Chrissie
"Everything In This Country Must" is quite simply too short.

The title story only lasts 23 minutes. I am listening to the audiobook performance. Yes, it feels like a performance, not the reading of a story! The narration by Clodagh Bowyer, in her young feminine Irish patois, was fantastic. The book’s narrator is a fifteen year old. Her perception of the event is that of a young Catholic Irish girl. She saw the body of the male swimmer. That is what she would see. She saw the agony and frustratio...more
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Okay, so, see, there's this place called Ireland? And it's really poor? Or, well, anyway, it used to be and stuff. So anyway, this Irish guy comes here, I mean to America, and he writes about these Irish people from when it was all poor and stuff? And so these stories are, like, really really sad and the people are all poor and kinda mean and they don't seem like they ever smile or anything? But they're all, like, really really trying to be good but something Irish just won't let em! Honest!

If "...more
Zoë
Everything in This Country Must is a small collection by Colum McCann which includes two short stories and one novella. The book begins with the title story "Everything in This Country Must" which is the story of a father and daughter whose lives have been ruined by the death of the mother and daughter at the hands of soldiers. However when their best draft horse is about to drown it is soldiers which come to help them pull it out of the water, something the father is unable to make peace with....more
Erin
This is my first Colum McCann book. After reading this one, I will definitely read more. His writing, while spare, considered and focused, was almost lyrical in its use of language, and drove me to re-read many sentences I found particularly lovely. As an example, I quote this from the first story in the book (**potential spoiler**):

"The ticking was gone from my mind and all was quiet everywhere in the world and I held the curtain like I held the sound of the bullets going into the draft horse,...more
Diane S.
Almost everyone I know has read, and said good things, about this author. I decided to start with a book of smaller stories of his and than go from there. I loved them. I loved his writing, simple yet elegant he presents the reader with wonderful and uncluttered visuals. All these stories take place and are said to represent all side of Northern Ireland. The first short story shows us a young girl, not understanding her father's politics. The second story, which was my favorite although the firs...more
Ferris
Audiobook............Listening to Colum McCann's prose is like listening to poetry, regardless of the subject matter. He is an excellent writer! This is the first time I have read his writing in the shorter format of novella and short stories, and I think he is masterful at it. All I will say, is settle back in a comfy chair with a beautiful view and listen. You will be carried away to the tough and demanding world of Ireland and its day-to-day realities. It's worth the time!
Emily White
Calum McCann visits many of the issues involved in the Northern Ireland conflict of a few years ago. One story tells of a protestant family that secretly makes wooden flagpoles for their Catholic enemies so that they have enough money to live on. Another tells of a young man displaced with his mother from their home so that they can stay safe. So much is explored in this tome, much of it heartbreaking, but much of it about learning from our experiences as well. I heard Colum McCann speak once ar...more
Frank
Not quite up to the standard of Let the Great World Spin, but these are much different stories on a different scale.

The two short stories and novella in this collection all revolve around “the Troubles” in the North of Ireland which haunted generations of Irish people on both sides of the border as well as in Britain for decades. Significantly, none of the main characters are directly involved in direct conflict. In the first, titular, story a Catholic farmer and his daughter receive unwanted he...more
Arti
A book compiling two short stories and a novella, Everything in this Country Must reaffirms my admiration for Colum McCann's spare and powerful writing.

McCann is the author of the 2009 National Book Award winner Let The Great World Spin. In my review of that book, I noted how he'd intricately woven together seemingly unrelated stories against the backdrop of the Twin Towers, crafting a moving tribute to NYC.

Before NYC, McCann had written about his home country Ireland. Everything In This Country...more
Neil
Here are two stories and a novella that focus on the tragedy of the Irish "Troubles" that describe the implications of the related social pathology on the lives of three families, and, in particular, three children.

In the novella, a boy whose dad died years earlier is now living with his mom in a summer cottage near the sea in Galway. His uncle is a political prisoner in the north, dying as a hunger striker. McCann takes us into the spiritual damage done to this boy, whose loving mother cannot c...more
Joanie
After thinking about it for a few days I'm changing my rating from 4 to 5 stars.

This is a collection of two short stories and a novella, all set in Northern Ireland during "The Troubles" of the late 70's, early 80's and all told from a child's point of view. McCann not only explores the politcal struggles of that time, but the struggles kids face when they feel pulled in two different directions.

In the first story "Everything in this Country Must" a young girl struggles with her feelings of gr...more
Darryl
Everything in This Country Must consists of two short stories and a novella, which are set in Northern Ireland during the Troubles. The first short story, "Everything in This Country Must", is narrated by a farm girl whose mother and sister were killed by British army troops, who struggles vainly alongside her embittered father to rescue his beloved draft horse from a raging river, until British soldiers come to their aid. "Wood", the second short story, describes a poverty stricken boy and his...more
Dot
A slim volume of one novella and two short stories set during "The Troubles" in Ireland. I have read quite a few novels set in Ireland this year and I find that each author has a slightly different view of events that led to so much violence. I don't necessarily agree with the blurb on the cover which states that this is "the only book" to read on this period of Irish history. It is such a complicated issue that I feel the more we read, the more we can try to understand the events and how they a...more
Jan
Colum McCann shows how deep religiously catalized hate can have its roots; but by choosing the perspective of youngsters in all three stories and by not giving us a history lesson, its bareble and, for a fact, the result maintains its literary qualities. Good approach, beautiful narration. JM
Alyson
Absolutely wonderful to listen to on audiobook, especially the title story. I found it impossible not to be swept away into the swirling action and emotion of a near tragedy and its fallout. This is a novella and two short stories that are combined into a beautiful small book that leaves me wanting for more.
John Bateman
I've never been to Northern Ireland. Until now. These bleak stories were bigger than the actual words written on the page. Think Faulkner's Barn Burning. Now that I'm finished and wondering about the children of these pages... I want more.
Jack Long
Colum McCann's Everything in this Country Must consists of a novella and two short stories with the backdrop of The Troubles in Northern Ireland. In the title story, a teenage girl must choose between allegiance to her Catholic father and gratitude to the British soldiers who have saved the family's horse. The protagonist of Hunger Strike, a novella, tries to replicate the experience of his uncle, an IRA prisoner on hunger strike. In Wood, a small boy does his part for the Protestant marches con...more
Lainie
First let me say that I'm a huge fan of Colum McCann.

This collection of two short stories and one novella offers the beautiful writing you would expect to find in any of his books. The stories are all set during the Irish Troubles in the late 1970s/early 1980s. In the novella, an adolescent boy is trying to get his head around the fact that his uncle (whom he does not know well) is a part of The Irish Hunger Strike (of 1981). It guts him but he takes pride, also. It's a sad but lyrical story, l...more
Anna
Had it on my shelf because I loved "Zoli" from McCann....a collection of two short stories and a novella, it is formatted in a manner suitable for 'easy reading'-- and that's exactly what it was. Perhaps it is the kind of book that needs to be read slowly, or more than once, to be fully appreciated. I didn't get much out of the stories other than in-the-moment entertainment, but as a quick read, I was compelled to finish the book in two sittings. The writing is bare. Enough to tell a story, but...more
Ditlev
Prachtig moet je lezen
Chris Kostenko
I had forgotten how powerful his writing is. These books tell stories about life in Ireland during the Thatcher years. The novella tells about a boy whose uncle is on a hunger strike in a prison. It's really just a glimpse at the struggles the boy is going through, racked with the pain of growing up, the times, the trouble that he can't completely comprehend, and in the end his attempts to lash out in a futile effort to overcome the obstacles that are haunting him.
Elizabeth
A collection of short stories/a novella that was a little dark yet beautiful. McCann's writing is lyrical and certainly poetic. Everything in This Country Must is almost quietly heartbreaking as it shows the reader the complexities of family amidst the backdrop of war.
Mark
Two short stories and a long one by this Irish writer living in New York. The stories are set in Ireland, either in the North, or in the shadow of the North. These are hard stories. In the last one, “Hunger Strike”, a young teenaged boy deals with his uncle’s hunger strike and impending death. Death is very present in the lives of all the people in these stories, and attempts to help one another don’t work very well – people are too wounded inside.
Tim
Three stories, all of which are absolutely top notch. I recommend it whole-heartedly. My slight complaint with the previous collection I read by McCann doesn't apply here- the voice is strong and great and confident (and thankfully no attempted american voice).

do it.
the third story is a novella about a boy whose uncle is on hunger strike in northern ireland and it is heartbreaking. just utterly devastating.

Brian
Listened to this as an audiobook which worked really well, I think. McCann always has a really graceful and fluid prose style, gorgeous descriptions and a lyrical voice. This book in particular is written very much in a way that reflects various Irish accents and dialects, so to hear the 3 narrators (it is made up of 2 short stories and a novella) really going all out in that style made the book come alive.
Gail
'The ticking was gone from my mind and all was quiet everywhere in the world and I held the curtain like I held the sound of the bullets going into the draft house, his favourite, in the barn, one two three, and I stood at the window in Stevie's jacket and looked and waited and still the rain kept coming down outside one two three and I was thinking oh what a small sky for such much rain.'

(15)
Barbara
This book contains 2 short stories and a novella. All appear to be set in Northern Ireland, which is unusual as the author was born in Dublin, and "southerners" have long been viewed as ignoring The Troubles. The 2 short stories focus on main characters who are Northern Protestants, another unusual turn for a writer from Dublin. The book is a quick worthwhile read.
Melissa
this was a pretty good book. i love short stories and novellas. and i like irish stories. the first 2 stories were entertaining. the novella was very good. it was about a teenage boy (and i don't want to give away too much else) but he was so well drawn, it was almost painful. just like being a teenager. i would definitely recommend this book.
Sally
I guess all of you know that Colum McCann won the National Book Award. I read this book before he received the recognition he so richly deserves. It reveals the stark and harsh lives of the Irish and the effects on their adolescents but you don't recoil while reading it because he uses the lilt of the Irish.
John Bartlett
What I look for in a short story is more than what is on the page. There has to be a hint of things unexpressed, suggestions of what has gone before or what wil happen after - 'things' submerged and not expressed. McCann's stories in this collection live up to that expectation. He's a master of the short story.
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Colum McCann is the author of two collections of short stories and four novels, including "This Side of Brightness,""Dancer" and “Zoli,” all of which were international best-sellers. His newest novel “Let the Great World Spin” will come out in 2009. His fiction has been published in 26 languages and has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, GQ, Paris Review and other places. He has wri...more
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Let the Great World Spin TransAtlantic Dancer Zoli This Side of Brightness

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“The ticking was gone from my mind and all was quiet everywhere in the world and I held the curtain like I held the sound of the bullets going into the draft horse, his favourite, in the barn, one two three, and I stood at the window in Stevie’s jacket and looked and waited and still the rain kept coming down outside one two three and I was thinking oh what a small sky for so much rain.” 3 likes
“Darkness doesn't fall, he thought as he swayed to the radio, it rises up from the bottom of the sea and begins to breathe around us.” 1 likes
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