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A lire la nuit

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  2,325 ratings  ·  163 reviews
Fut-il un héros ou un traître, cet oncle Eddie, volontaire de l'IRA, dont la légende familiale prétend qu'il disparut en 1922 dans l'explosion d'une distillerie ? A Londonderry, dans les années 1950, le jeune narrateur, troisième enfant d'une famille d'ouvriers qui en compte sept, vit sous le joug de ce secret de famille, entre une mère étroitement liée au mystère et un pè ...more
Paperback, 317 pages
Published September 10th 1997 by Actes Sud (first published 1996)
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Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
The book begins with an epigraph from "She Moved Through the Fair":

The people were saying no two were e'er wed
But one had a sorrow that never was said.

Those two lines carry the essence of the story. The long-term consequences of keeping secrets are at the heart of Reading in the Dark.

The unnamed narrator describes his Catholic boyhood in Derry in the 40s and 50s. Both his parents' families have secrets held since the time of the Troubles in the 1920s.
As the protagonist moves from boyhood into
Paul Bryant
Well, the blurbs on the back say: "Marvellous...almost impossible to put down" (Independent on Sunday) and "A profoundly emotive and seamlessly structured exploration of loss and regret. It is also funny and authentic. What more could one ask of a book?" My boorish response, however, is


So it's all about this boy growing up in Northern Ireland with his mother going round the twist and some great big family secret hanging over them like a dentist's drill, all about the grandfather and the unc
Deane presents Reading in the Dark as a “novel” and I am unclear as to how much is fact and how much is fiction. Much of what he wrote about the dynamic of the Irish family situation rings very true in my own reality. Irish families are a topic close to my heart. His discussion of the things left unsaid in Irish family life rings true and is echoed in many other books about Irish and Irish-American culture, ranging from Alice Carey’s I’ll Know it When I See it, to Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes, ...more
Patrick O'Neil
If you’re Irish, then you’ve probably got a crazy uncle who occasionally comes home from the pub singing “The Boys of 98” at the top of his lungs at three in the morning or your grandmother, after she slipped a little whiskey in your milk to help you sleep, tells you tales of Old Eire that make the Grimm Brother’s Fairy Tales look like gobshite. If you’re not, well, then you have to read Seamus Deane’s Reading in the Dark to truly get a glimpse of the Irish experience – notably the Northern Iris ...more
This is one of my favorite books; I've probably given away 15 copies of this book. Much like Graham Swift's Waterland, this is an impeccably written, elegantly crafted novel. Much prefer this treatment of Irish family life to Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes.
Reading In The Dark is a first person account of an extraordinary childhood. On the surface, the family seems to be stable enough. They are Catholics and the novel’s narrator is about half way along his parents progeny. Nothing special there...

They are not rich, and apparently not poor. They get by. The lad explores the neighbourhood, makes friends, starts school. Eventually he proves to be quite academic and he clearly goes from personal success to further personal success.

But all the time ther
Couldn't finish this one...which is very rare for me. The quality of the writing was good, however there was no connection between each chapter leaving me disconnected from the book. There were no consistent characters to bond with and no story to lose oneself in. And, having just visited Ireland, I was looking forward to this read.
Aug 18, 2007 Jim rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who is feeling nostalgic.
I'd been working on a book based in Ireland where the protagonists were two brothers so this looked liked the perfect reference material for me. I think my memory of the book has suffered because I was reading the book with a purpose in mind rather than enjoying it in its own right. The political edge to the book annoyed me because politics in general annoys me but in order to be accurate it needed to be there.

When I first picked it up to add to my bookshelf I thought I'd remembered nothing abou
Put aside at pg 172 but not quite ready to abandon and have no idea when or if I'll return to it. Lovely writing but old-old, hate to say but almost stale Irish story of IRA "ghosts." Deane's language makes it fairly fresh, but not enough to keep me going. Problem is I've read so much Irish lit, past and present, on the same subject, and it becomes like reading yet another work on evil legacy of American slavery: there's Morrison's Beloved and there's everything else. And Deane, though talented, ...more
tis is very special. Making me feel all colloquial-like, man dear, boys'o, it's a queer bit o writtin...

This is marvellous. Moving, sensitive but not at all slushy or saccharin. It is tender, haunting, and left me feeling quite emotionally fragile after finish it. Ah, Seamus Deane
Dec 29, 2007 Beth rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
I've read this book three times now. I'm not certain I'll ever perfectly understand it. What I know is that the author has me in his hold; I will follow him wherever this story goes.
Joyce has Stephen Daedalus say that "history is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake," and the narrator of Seamus Deane's novel could just as well say the same. Politics, religion, and family secrets are the threads that entwine to create this Irish history, one that sounds like a memoir but evidently is not. The story is told in short bursts, snapshots of family history that piece together at the end to tell a coherent but somewhat tragic tale. All of which might make for a glum and depr ...more
Michael Johnston
I'm not sure I could say anything about this book other than that it is, in a word, brilliant. Written about a place Deane knew quite well, the book has that rare gift of making the reader feel intimately familiar with a place and a people he has never seen. Questions of truth, family history and the often-messy result of keeping it hidden, as well as vendetta and guilt by association, riddle the book. There are questions as to how much of the book is fiction and how much is fictionalized fact; ...more
This book rather strikes me as a 'marmite' book, you will either love or hate it depending on your taste. However, it could also be desribed as an onion as it peels back differing layers revealing the conflicts that there are in all families, although in this case these are exasapated by the fact that the boy is a Catholic growing up in Northern Ireland with all it's sectarian divides. You see religious, political, familial,social and parent-child divides throughout but you also see that the dec ...more
'Reading In The Dark' is a childhood story, and in many ways a coming-of-age story of an unnamed Irish boy. The main narrative features a family secret, of which everyone thinks they know the truth. Much of the secret remains obscured though, because of a wild variety of reasons. The most fascinating aspect of this book, however, was how it uses old family legend and regional folklore together with a more serious approach of issues like the Irish struggle for independence of thought. I especiall ...more
This is another book I read for my Northern Ireland class at Notre Dame, which is where Seamus Deane teaches part of the time. He came to visit my class after we'd finished reading it, and I think the entire class mostly gazed at him in awe while he sat with us to discuss it. It is a haunting book, a beautiful book, and ultimately a very tragic book. About the power of secrets, the value of keeping them and not keeping them. It's a very complicated book as well. I remember the class having a who ...more
What we remember, but do not say. What we suspect or deduce, but will not utter. What has been done to us, by those who did it "for" us. And the lengths a child will go to suss it all out, despite the price, and despite the answers, imagined or real. Do all lives lived under foreign occupation take on such unflinching, yet such self mortifying aspect? When divide and conquer is the rule of the day, what becomes of those under the sword who, willingly or unwillingly, with full knowledge or unwitt ...more
Brian McLaughlin
For anyone interested in the Irish conflict in the North and the issue of British occupation. But even apart from that historical and political interest, the novel is also a very well-written and interesting memoir of sorts (not entirely autobiographical but drawing from Seamus Deane's personal life). I do not typically like most memoirs, and I cannot stand these memoirs written by middle-aged white moms about their "life experiences" (I have a friend whose mom married a French man, and she is w ...more
A collection of vignettes that gradually coalesce to form a complete narrative revolving around family, death, loyalty, and love. Short, sweet, and stunning, with beautiful, simple writing.
Seamus Deane writes like a poet (possibly because he IS a poet). A gripping tale of family conflict which reflects the external Catholic/Protestant conflict of Derry, Northern Ireland.
Set in Northern Ireland between 1945 and 1970, this book is structured as short chapters, titled by the dates they occurred (October 1945, June 1947, etc.). Each exists as an independent vignette, and I imagine if I had finished the book, these fragments would all add up to a complete story by the end. But, since the first forty pages or so left me completely cold, I decided not to finish this. Despite the high accolades this book received, and the fact that I am normally fascinated by this plac ...more
I had very high expectations for this book. It is beautifully written. Every sentence Seamus Deane writes is wonderfully constructed. The book (as it should) reads almost like a collection of anecdotes, of childhood memories strung together. Reading in the dark was engaging and thought provoking, but it fails as a novel. The whole is less than the sum of its parts and the book builds tension for a climax which never comes. The book has little to no climax or resolution. The characters grow and c ...more
Beautiful story, loved listening to Stephen Rea with his lovely Irish accent. About a boy growing up in Derry in the 50's. His family was impacted by the civil war and this boy has a way of nosing out the secrets that his elders hold.
The first few chapters are so melancholy that I almost stopped listening. The story is sad through-out but I am so glad that I stayed it through.
The characters come alive in the reading. Chapters devoted to the priests who teach in the schools are REALLY interesti
I'm not sure how this book got into my personal library. But there it was, and I felt the need to read it, as I feel about all the books on my shelves. It was ok, but I can definitely tell that this was not something I would have picked out for myself.

A young boy grows up in Ireland. At this time there is much talk about informers and war and other things that are a family secret. A secret he is determined to figure out although it will take him years and he'll only get it in snippets. With a mo
Steve Woods
This is a book about family secrets and the ways in which they can tear through a child's emotional world. The secrets here were about incestuous murder and the living of the lies keeping those secrets entailed. It was no doubt more typical in Ireland as a result of the sectarian violence than in many other places. The psychological dynamics though remain the same wherever "the keeping" occurs and in whatever age, it appears, a tragedy, in every great literary tradition. The destructive power of ...more
This is the story of a young Catholic boy (unnamed) growing up in Derry in Northern Ireland during the post war period in the 40's through the Northern Ireland "Troubles" in 1968. Deane considers this a fictional work but states that it is based on his own experience growing up during that time. The title comes from this boy's propensity for reading at bedtime and is symbolic of his whole childhood being part of a family and community defined by political, economic and religious oppression, a v ...more
Kris McCracken
Reading in the Dark is Irish poet Seamus Deane’s first. The novel is set in Derry, Northern Ireland and explores the fractured nature of identity, religion, memory and family. Indeed, a working title could well have been Secrets and Lies…

Narrated from the point of view of a young Catholic boy, the novel is constructed from a series of vignettes that are dated and run in chronological order. However, the heart of the plot includes a number of unspoken family secret events dating back to the Irish
Nagyszerű könyv.
Őszintén szólva a könyv háromnegyede dög unalom. Pontosabban olyan feszes, rideg mondatok halmaza, amiből nehéz bármilyen hangulatot kivenni. Nekem legalábbis nehéz volt. De van valami vonzereje, ami nem engedi becsukni a könyvet, olvasni kell tovább.
A regényben szereplő titok nem akkora titok az olvasó számára, hiszen apró utalásokból elég hamar ki lehet találni, hogy mi történt a múltban a szereplőkkel.
A végén azonban kiderül, hogy nem is igazán a titokról szól a könyv. Inká
P.J. Sullivan
This book is about growing up Catholic in Northern Ireland, a very complicated place! About a child caught up in a violent history and a mysterious feud, haunted by superstition and family secrets, terrorized by the police, browbeaten by priests. It is also a mystery story—what secret is his mother hiding? What really happened to Uncle Eddie? And it has barbed humor worthy of a Frank McCourt.

The writing is elegant, but this is not an easy read. The subplots are complicated. Some chapters have l
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Endicott Mythic F...: Reading in the Dark - Who's Reading? / Discussion 1 4 Jun 29, 2015 03:55PM  
  • Amongst Women
  • The Deposition of Father McGreevy
  • Grace Notes
  • The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty
  • Resurrection Man
  • House of Splendid Isolation
  • The Butcher Boy
  • The Barrytown Trilogy: The Commitments / The Snapper / The Van
  • Pascali's Island
  • The Last September
  • Our Fathers
  • The Blackwater Lightship
  • The Year of the French
  • Crossing the River
  • Eureka Street
  • Fools of Fortune
  • Shadows on Our Skin
  • The Keepers of Truth
Poet, critic, novelist, and educator. Professor of Irish studies at Notre Dame University in Indiana USA. Educated at Queen's College, Belfast, and Pembroke College, Cambridge University, England.
More about Seamus Deane...
Strange Country: Modernity and Nationhood in Irish Writing Since 1790 A Short History of Irish Literature Celtic Revivals: Essays in Modern Irish Literature The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing 3 Vol. Set Irish Writers 1886 - 1986

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“Paradise was not far away when I died” 2 likes
“People with green eyes were close to the fairies, we were told; they were just here for a little while, looking for a human child they could take away. If we ever met anyone with one green and one brown eye we were to cross ourselves, for that was a human child that had been taken over by the fairies. The brown eye was the sign it had been human. When it died, it would go into the fairy mounds that lay behind the Donegal mountains, not to heaven, purgatory, limbo or hell like the rest of us. These strange destinations excited me, especially when a priest came to the house of a dying person to give the last rites, the sacrament of Extreme Unction. That was to stop the person going to hell. Hell was a deep place. You fell into it, turning over and over in mid-air until the blackness sucked you into a great whirlpool of flames and you disappeared forever.” 2 likes
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