Bernie Mcgill's Reviews > On Canaan's Side

On Canaan's Side by Sebastian Barry
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Oct 03, 11

Read from September 16 to October 03, 2011

I started this review on the inside of a packet of raisins I was using as a bookmark-cum-snack at the time of reading the book. I had to write down what was in my head, and that was the only paper at hand (apart from the book itself, of course, and I would never desecrate a book like that). This is what I wrote: ‘I didn’t think it possible, but I’ve fallen in love with Sebastian Barry’s writing all over again. Lilly Bere is a delight as a storyteller – we follow her willingly from Dublin at the turn of the century as she travels to the US to start her new life. Here she is in fine form.’ And then I’d noted down a page reference: p.52. This is the extract: ‘We were Catholic people, of an ancient vanished category, and though we were eager to jump into each other’s knickers, we weren’t planning to do so till our wedding night. The fire that that engenders in a person has to be experienced to be believed. You are sitting with your beau and your private parts are melting. You need to eat well and drink a lot of water to survive it.’ What needs adding to that? An absolute joy of a read, from start to finish.
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