Justin Evans's Reviews > Troubles

Troubles by J.G. Farrell
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's review
Mar 20, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction
Read in March, 2012

This took a long time to get going- the first third or so lacks much direction, and the direction it has is disappointingly heavy handed: so there's this hotel in Ireland? During the troubles? And it's owned by Anglo-Irish Unionists? And the hotel's falling apart. Um... subtle. Also, flabby.
But once the characters are set and the background's been filled in, it becomes quite enjoyable, and even the symbolism is palatable. The NYRB cover is very misleading, though- like Bowen's 'The Last September,' this is a country house novel that happens to take place in the middle of a bloody uprising/oppression, rather than a novel about said uprising/oppression- emphasis on the *country house.* The best parts have almost nothing to do with the Troubles; there are tremendous set-pieces, particularly the hotel's final ball. But the setting certainly adds poignancy and gravitas to the fun and suspense of the love story; the revelation of the 'iron bed' literally took my breath away. I can easily see myself re-reading this in a few years.
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06/25/2016 marked as: read

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