Ronan Mcdonnell's Reviews > On Canaan's Side

On Canaan's Side by Sebastian Barry
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M_50x66
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Apr 04, 12

Read in January, 2012

This book thwarted me. I love Barry’s writing but was put off by the first chapters and determined not to like it. Eventually it charmed me.

I originally disliked the pretense. The narrator, an elderly partially schooled lady, tells us she never writes and within one day is walking by the ocean, “There is such solace in the mere sight of water. It clothes us delicately in its blowing salt and scent, gossamer items that medicate the poor soul.”

Anyway, she left Ireland as a fugitive girl with her beau to live in America. What follows is 70 years of heartbreak and happiness and the stories in between. It tells the joint stories of two closely related countries across the twentieth century. In scope, it is similar to Roddy Doyle’s Star Called Henry series. It is however, clearly the poetic voice of a frail lady.
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