Sue's Reviews > Troubles

Troubles by J.G. Farrell
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's review
Jul 29, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: historical-fiction, ireland, read-in-2011
Read from October 02 to 14, 2011

"Troubles" is the story of Ireland 1919 to 1921, the Irish and the Anglo-Irish and the British, and how they ultimately can't all live together under the terms of the past. It is seen through the eyes of a shell-shocked British veteran, the Major, come to the Majestic Hotel in County Wexford to disabuse a young woman of the notion they may be affianced. He doesn't recall more than polite conversations during leave.

From there the alternately comic and tragic story moves with the "troubles" that began shortly after the war, in 1919, as the Irish moved to eject the British and work for home rule. The Majestic itself is a stand-in for the dying British Empire, as it slowly is over run with feral cats, tree roots burst through floors, pieces fall off the building. It can't maintain itself--either the facade or the inner workings. Something is going to give, and badly. And it's inhabitants are seemingly either ancient, slightly mad (or worse) or totally obtuse. Gentry without the means.

The humor is sometimes subtle and sometimes outright. Sometimes the sadness and terror of peoples' lives is horrible.The story becomes darker as time progresses and the Republicans make more daring raids on British interests and people.

All in all a very interesting book from a perspective I haven't read before. I think I will give the other books in the trilogy a try also.
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Reading Progress

10/08/2011 page 102
22.0% "So far I'm liking this. The humor is very subtle. The English characters are so clueless about what is happening around them." 13 comments
07/08/2016 marked as: read
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Sue (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sue see comments at Judy's (1 star) thread for discussion.

message 2: by Mikki (new)

Mikki So many diverse feelings about this book -- love it or hate it but no in-between. I may need to read...

message 3: by Sue (last edited Oct 15, 2011 12:05PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sue If you do, I'd love to know how you feel. I will eventually read the rest of the trilogy. I think part of the problem may be that there really is no "action" in a sense. It's a period piece during a time of major change in Ireland, but the change is in the people.

message 4: by Mikki (new)

Mikki Well, it will probably suit me because I really enjoy quiet books.I tend to get caught up in poetic writing styles and not action. It's all about the beauty of the language for me.

message 5: by Sue (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sue I'll be curious to see.

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