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3.34 of 5 stars 3.34  ·  rating details  ·  111 ratings  ·  6 reviews
Patrick McCabe, whom the San Francisco Chronicle called "one of the most brilliant writers ever to come out of Ireland," presents another compelling novel of small-town Ireland that leaves its indelible mark on the canon of classic fiction. Carn is the story of two women; Josie Keenan, who returns to Carn, Ireland, the provincial hometown she once left behind, and Sadie Ro...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published January 1st 1997 by Delta (first published November 1st 1993)
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William A.
I enjoyed "Carn" quite a lot. McCabe starts several story threads then weaves them together to tell the story of small town on the northern border of Ireland spanning the 1950s to the 1970s. The characters are well composed, especially the female characters, and the pain and small joys of their mutual existence are carefully crafted, drawing in the reader. In turn, each major character dares to hope for something better than life in Carn, or for a better life in Carn. Fate, however, has other id...more
I liked the way this started by flinging you in at the deep end. Each chapter seemed largely unconnected to the one before - feeling almost like a short story collection. Until after a handful of chapters people started to reappear.

A well told tale with a great sense of things coming full circle by the end. Well handled different character types. And a genuine sense of tension as the climax approached.

Derek Bridge
This early McCabe work is different from his more recent stuff. Its focus is small-town Ireland, but as a mirror to wider events, from the 1960s onwards. Identities are formed, loyalties defined, dreams shattered. Everyone is damaged, but there is a variety of leading characters that sets this apart from later McCabe works, which tend to inhabit the unhinged minds of a single protagonist.
A harsh book that totally engulfed me while I read it, leaving me as miserable as the characters in the book were.
Hilary Carpenter
Does anyone want this? It's fantastic. My friend gave it to me, and I want to pay it forward.
This one's kind of a downer.
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Patrick McCabe came to prominence with the publication of his third adult novel, The Butcher Boy, in 1992; the book was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in Britain and won the Irish Times-Aer Lingus Prize for fiction. McCabe's strength as an author lies in his ability to probe behind the veneer of respectability and conformity to reveal the brutality and the cloying and corrupting stagnation of Ir...more
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