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In the Country of the Young

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  673 Ratings  ·  88 Reviews
On a stormy November night in 1848, a ship carrying more than a hundred Irish emigrants ran aground twenty miles off the coast of Maine. Many were saved, but some were not -- including a young girl who died crying out the name of her brother.

In the present day, the artist Oisin MacDara lives in self-imposed exile on Tiranogue -- the small island where the shipwrecked Irish
Paperback, 288 pages
Published March 5th 2002 by Harper Perennial (first published October 1st 2000)
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Community Reviews

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Jun 25, 2007 Luthien rated it it was amazing
This book is so simple and beautiful that it's hard to understand how it gets under your skin the way it does. It touches a cord in me, and probably does for people, like me, who live inside their own heads a lot. It's haunting, sweet, sad and completely unforgettable.
Aug 31, 2014 Roger rated it it was amazing
There are ghosts in this book, set among the Irish in Ireland and America, but if you want a generic ghost story, stay away, On the other hand if you are looking for a gorgeous, satisfying, layered book where the the ghostliness of humans and the humanity of ghostliness illuminates the nature of us in a fresh, affecting and edgy way, then this is for you. It's a skilled and complex work of genuine literature, that is also hard to put down. A lonely artist in recent times is haunted by his lost t ...more
Annabel Joseph
Aug 21, 2010 Annabel Joseph rated it it was amazing
I don't really know what to say about this book, except that it has stuck with me for years and years. I love the mysticism of it. It is not a "comfortable" book but the writing is beautifully crafted.
Jun 08, 2009 vickie rated it it was amazing
I read this book a few years ago and could never remember the title. I recently came across it again at the library and had to check it out again. It is haunting and it is one of those rare books that "got to me".
Linda  Branham Greenwell
Jan 31, 2010 Linda Branham Greenwell rated it it was amazing

I truly don't know where to begin describing this book except to say that is fantasy at it's best. Filled with melancholy and beauty. A ghost is one of the main characters... so there is much communication between the dead and the living

Carey intertwines harsh reality with the magical and mythical. The details about the Irish famine, the tons of food that were exported from the country while over a million people starved to death, and the horrible conditions on board the "coffin ships" are all--
Apr 24, 2012 Victoria rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this strange and beautiful story - the product of a sort of marriage between a ghost story and a romance. It was so moving - just absolutely beautiful. Carey has a lot of talent - I love her other books, too, but this one is my favorite! It is such a different sort of book that it’s hard to describe. But I read it in one sitting, just loving every page. I absolutely adored it! What a terrific story, with wonderful characters and a highly original premise. I look forward to con ...more
Jun 29, 2011 CD rated it it was ok
OK. This review is one big spoiler. So stop reading if you want to read this book.

It is billed as a ghost story. Hmmm. I guess. It does have a ghost in it. Technically. But she turns into a real little girl. Then she starts to grow quickly into an adult. All within a year. All of this takes place on the island in the cabin of an artist/recluse who hasn't had a successful relationship in his entire life and is in fact pining for his dead twin sister to return to him.

He thought perhaps the ghost w
I'm often impetuous when it comes to reviewing books that I feel passionately about. Whether I love them or hate them, I often review them without a lot of thought. I realized that my former review of this book really didn't make a lot of sense, so I'm going to try again.

This is an odd book. I can admit that. The story of a loner who's waiting for a ghost. When a ghost eventually arrives, it's not the one that he has been waiting for, but it's the one he needs. Strange, right?

I didn't have a lot
Jun 09, 2008 Elan rated it it was amazing
When I first began reading this book, I wasn't too impressed with the first few paragraphs, which as most people know are essential to "pulling you in" as the reader, so I shelved it. At that time, I didn't have much time for reading anyway. Later on, I found myself needing something to read and I decided to give it another try. I bought the book, so I should just read it. The second time around, I fell in love with the book. It interweaves the life of a reclusive artist living on an island off ...more
Sep 24, 2013 Sueann rated it it was amazing
Absoultely loved this book, so beautifully written and kept me enthralled from start to finish. I really can't recommend this book highly enough, it touched my heart and soul and stayed with me long after the last page.

A gorgeous intertwining story of a relationship between the living and the dead, the book draws you in and you find yourself easily getting attached to these two lost souls.

Creative and endearing with a bloody good history lesson thrown in, definitely a book to get all cosy with o
Jul 15, 2011 Labmom rated it it was ok
Somewhere in this mess is a good story. The author should have focused on one of the poorly intersecting and underdeveloped plot lines instead of trying to combine them. I thought this was supposed to be a ghost story, but it turned out to be creepy in the wrong way, and a lot of the events were unexplained, so it was really disapointing.
Kimberly Cheeseman
Dec 07, 2014 Kimberly Cheeseman rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mary Gasior
Nov 03, 2012 Mary Gasior rated it really liked it
The main character leaves the door open on Halloween so that his dead sibling can come in. Instead he gets the ghost of a girl who died in a shipwreck. She takes bodily form and over the course of several months grows up. (Yes the neighbors are wondering). Interesting read.
Caitlin Rose Blaney
Beautiful and haunting, erotic and painful... an unconventional masterpiece of the "ghost story" genre. The incorporation of Irish history / mythology adds extra flavor, and the characters are very real and believable. I'll read anything Carey writes.
Jan 05, 2009 Alice rated it really liked it
This love story/ghost story/historical fiction is unusual and captivating. Read it!
Jean-marie Kneeley
Aug 05, 2012 Jean-marie Kneeley rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite books of all times! A beautiful love story, complete with a ghost. A MUST read!!
May 25, 2017 Mary rated it it was amazing
Very original ghost story. Loved it.
Ali Schultz
Feb 25, 2017 Ali Schultz rated it liked it
Shelves: ireland, america, 2017
Beautiful and magical and mysterious. That special lilt of Irish mythology's charm hammered into the weariness of Mainers, a perfect representation of second/ third generation storytelling art- nostalgia for a past one has hardly ever actually known. Such a good story, in fact, that I had to give it 4 stars despite my discomfort with the almost-incest and sorta-pedophilia (is it pedophilia when one is a ghost who was seven 150 years ago?)
Jul 28, 2015 L rated it really liked it
Four and a half stars.

I'm glad I stumbled onto this author; she writes beautifully and thoughtfully, like a moodier Jane Urquhart. The tangle of stories she tells in this novel resonated with me in a deep place. In many ways this is a perfect example of the right book at the right time for me.

Carey tells the tale of time - growing up, discovering ourselves, moving through this medium along with our families. And sometimes, when it's cut short, you wonder what it would have been like. This book a
Mar 29, 2015 Alesa rated it really liked it
This was a fascinating book, but not completely satisfying for me.

First, it was beautifully narrated. Lisa Carey is a gifted and careful writer, who brings innovative descriptions to her prose. Some sentences were just startlingly beautiful.

Second, it was about the Irish potato famine, a topic that always intrigues me. The author conveyed a lot of knowledge about the family into innocent-seeming sentences, which won my admiration.

Third, there were some wonderfully insightful passages that rang w
Kate Lansing
Oct 27, 2014 Kate Lansing rated it liked it
Shelves: bookclub
***3.5 stars***

This is a tough book to review... On one hand, I loved the subtle magic and ghosts, learning about "coffin ships" and the Irish potato famine, and the beautiful writing. But on the other hand, the story moved a little slow and was somewhat predictable.

The themes about youth and aging were cool -- the way our minds and needs change as we get older, how we'll never be fully grown up, and the things we miss most about being young. Deirdre was my favorite character; she was a moral be
Nov 22, 2013 Cheryl rated it really liked it
When I started this book, I wasn't sure I was going to be able to get into it. As a student of literature, I'm used to Irish uggah-buggah and angst mixed with an abundance of wheeping and wailing, famine, ghosts, lost loves, and an occasional jig thrown in to let me know that the characters, like most Irish, survive by shear grit and determination. This novel was totally unexpected. When a ghost of a 7 year old girl returns from the dead after 150 years as a spirit and begins to take human form, ...more
Jul 20, 2008 Brandy rated it really liked it
This is a ghost story. And a romance, and the story of a family, and another family, and the way the outcasts of both find each other. Oisin is a man who, as a child, saw ghosts, but stopped seeing them right when there was one in particular he needed to see. Oisin is a boy who grows up to take in a new ghost, not the ghost of the child he longs to see but a different ghost who wants a second chance. The whole story is steeped in Irish folklore (e.g., banshees) and tinged with history (the ghost ...more
Nov 10, 2008 Ellen rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 08, 2012 Jenny rated it it was ok
I was looking for a ghost story, this came up, and if you look at the reviews, people either love it or hate it. Some parts of it are really good -- as in, there really is a ghost! She can do ghosty stuff like letting people get a feeling from their dead family members! She has a rapid growth spurt! Then there's the icky part (view spoiler) ...more
Dec 13, 2008 Sarah rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, 2005
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 06, 2008 Deirdre rated it really liked it
Oisin is an artist. He's living alone on an island called Tiranogue. The locals there are part-descended from some rescued people from a famine ship. When Oisin was younger he saw ghosts, now he doesn't, so he's quite delighted that again he can see ghosts as his twin's death has haunted him in deeply profound ways.

When he finds out that his ghost is Aisling and she was one of the people who survived the wreckage but didn't survive long after that, his life changes, as does hers.

Although some of
Amanda Morris
May 09, 2007 Amanda Morris rated it really liked it
This is a book I would have given 5 stars when I read it in high school but bumped down to 4 reading it as an adult. It is one of those books that is so poetically written that you just get drawn into the language. The plot is creative and the characters are realistically portrayed. I just have an issue with the ending. Spoilers to follow:
(view spoiler)
Erica Leigh
Jun 30, 2011 Erica Leigh rated it liked it
I found the writing style of this book to be lyrical and I really liked the premise – I had expected a ghost story but this was something more solid, more moving, more literal. I like the way the tale was woven, and never felt that the time jumps were awkward or disruptive. There were disturbing elements to the story, to be sure, but the thread of inappropriate sexual behavior did not degenerate the novel. I thought the character of Deidre explained much that allowed you to move past certain asp ...more
Feb 24, 2008 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
I had no idea what this book was about when I picked it up, but I was pulled in right from the start. It is about a shipwreck off the coast of Maine, filled mostly with children, coming to escape the famine in Ireland. There is a little girl who dies in the wreck but comes back over 100 years later to live with an artist who can communicate with the dead. It sounds a bit cheesy, but the story is compelling, particularly the details of Ireland during the famine and the journey to the US. I could ...more
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Lisa Carey was born in 1970 in Boston, Massachusetts to Irish-American parents. She grew up in Brookline and later moved with her family to Hingham, Massachusetts.

She attended Boston College and received a B.A. in English and Philosophy in 1992.

Pursuing her MFA in Writing, she took a semester off and lived in Inishbofin, Ireland for six months. There, Carey began her first novel, The Mermaids Sin
More about Lisa Carey...

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“A girl is there. Dressed in a dirty rag of a dress, turning to look at him with the large, gold eyes that have studied everything from the rafters. Her hair in the overhead light appears dark for an instant, then when she shifts, fair. She is there in vivid detail, down to a mustache of beaded water above her generous mouth. A dead girl, looking more real and more alive than anyone he has ever seen.

She is not the girl—Oisin knows this with an instant, wrenching disappointment—whom he has been waiting for.”
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