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The Absurd Demise of Poulnabrone

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  33 ratings  ·  24 reviews
"'Face facts, will you,' she kept telling me... 'What happens here means nothing and never will.'"

Cornelius Conlon has been forever growing old. Born at the turn of the 20th century, he has lived through a lifetime of madness, and now must witness his towns demise. He preaches, writes, loves and obsesses – of the darkness of the tunnels, of the dangers of the Folly, of the
Paperback, 346 pages
Published June 2013 by Jagged C Press
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Reviewed in 2014

Cornelius Conlon. Con Conlon. What a name! The people in the town of Poulnabrone call him Con the Loon because he likes to preach at street corners. But Con is far from crazy, he is perhaps the sanest man in the district. Con is like a wise man from another age, a fili from the Ireland of long ago, someone who feels the layers of time trapped in the earth beneath his feet, someone who can foretell the future because he understands the past. He is a marvellous creation.

Tara is his
Sep 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nature Lovers.
Recommended to Mala by: Liam Howley

Liam Howley's debut novel is as Irish as they come and yet, as Barth, quoting Aristotle in his famous essay About Aboutness, says: "the true subject of literature is not the events of history or the features of a particular place, but "the experience of human life, its happiness and its misery."" In other words, Liam's book is an imaginative reclaiming of his roots, a hybrid of history-fiction, of realism-surrealism but more of the latter, we are reading fiction after all!
I'll explain this– In h
Mar 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Welcome to the small Irish village of Poulnabrone, a rustic town where everyone knows one another but no one quite knows what's wrong. But something definitely is.

One of the most enchanting things about this book--clear early on--is its easy mingling of wackiness and earnestness, the former sneaking up on you when it slips out from under the generally overriding latter: setting is central and the power of place works its effects upon its inhabitants; for instance we see how age and neglect can l
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
Let’s begin with the fact that The Absurd Demise of Poulnabrone is a most excellent title. The second thing is that Poulnabrone is not quite my kind of thing. The gap represented by that ‘not quite’ is, I suspect, not a large gap. But it is there and I felt it. I’ll try to describe or at least point to its nature. Because it really is a rather good novel. Not being my kind of thing isn’t what really matters.

But, if I try to spell out why it’s not quite (small gap) my kind of thing I’d have to st
The author provided a copy of this book for review.

I was very impressed by the depth and quality of the writing in this first novel by Liam Howley. He published this book himself, but clearly went above and beyond the slap-dash-smash methods of most SPAs marketing their 99-cent masterpieces. He worked with an editor and produced a high-quality paperback that looks great and feels great in your hands - so much more pleasing than an ebook...

Poulnabrone is a town in decay, sitting on a series of tu
Sep 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a recommendation, and for me a very interesting read. Certainly not my usual fare. On the surface it's about a small town in Ireland that's dying, and about the inhabitants of that town. But you can also read more into that simple premise, It could be perceived as a metaphor for life's cycle. So there is a lot to offer a reader, there's a lot of depth to the story, it is multi layered.

It really defies a genre classification but to me it was simply a thought provoking and well told story
Henry Martin
Feb 06, 2014 rated it really liked it

It is not often that I read independent authors, but I'm running out of dead authors to read, so I decided to reach for a book by a contemporary author instead, and broaden my literary horizons. Other than knowing that The Absurd Demise of Poulnabrone is Liam Howley's debut novel, I did not know what to expect.

The Absurd Demise of Poulnabrone opens with an introduction to Cornelius Solitude Conlon, an aging man who, I assumed, was the primary protagonist. In fact, my assumption continued through
Louise White
Mar 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Dream-like, dark and abstract at times, I couldn't tear myself away from this beautifully written novel which details the decay and fall of a town. So much more than that, it invites the reader - no holds barred- to experience the pain, frustrations, apathy and some of the joy to be had from the occupants of the ill fated Poulnabrone.
This is a tale of secrets, lies, dark desires and despair, explored with depth and  compelling sincerity. it is clear that the author is painfully aware of the huma
Michelle Nichols
Apr 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
I won this book from goodreads as a first reads edition.

This book. Wow. You know the comfort you get from sitting on a porch listening to a grandparents stories about "back in my day"? That is this book. It's not all necessarily good things, or easy to follow, but there is such a raw beauty involved in the stories and style of writing. Some of the metaphors literally made me stop reading just to soak them in because they were so beautiful. "I was stuck in the madness of autumn watching the leave
Mar 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Abstract and dark, this is one contemporary work that reads like a classic. I'm glad I received this in goodreads giveaway, autographed by the author Mr. Howley. The depiction of a decaying town, Poulnabrone, is tied in beautifully with its eccentric inhabitant Cornelius and all the other characters...All of them well developed and whose fate is woven neatly with a subsiding town in Ireland. I was amused by 'daylight savings time' explanation by one of the characters. This is a carefully crafted ...more
I received this book from the author for a honest review.

The first part was really interesting, in particular for the character of Conlon and the story between him and Cassandra; moreover, the setting was really well developed. But then, aside from some sections in the second part, I just grew bored with the narration, and lost all the interest in the characters, in particular in Tara, whose actions I wasn't able to understand anymore.
I feel sorry for it, because at the beginning I was really en
The Absurd Demise of Poulnabrone reads like the Irish pendant to One Hundred Years of Solitude.

Believe me, I tried really, really hard to resist the temptation to write the above sentence, but in the end, there is no way around it: it’s what best sums up Liam Howley’s debut novel. It takes place for the most part in a provincial village that represents the country if not the world and humanity at large in a nutshell, follows several generations of the same family and some inhabitants of the vil

Assured in tone (though let down by some simple spelling errors), it's 100 Years of Solitude via Ireland, with objective correlatives as far as the eye can see - a close-knit and insular community, richly imagined.
Jun 25, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An Irish town known for the invention of the Time Zone is slowly sinking beneath the earth. Is this a metaphor for something intangible that has been lost in the steady march of Progress?

Clearly, though what has been lost, and when, and how, is largely left up to the reader. There is some garble towards the end about drugs and drunken teenagers and vandalism and crime, and not having been mentioned earlier in the novel they must be perceived as the result of some malign foreign influence upon th
Rachel C.
Mar 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book; although it took me a while to pick it up, it was so worth it. Read it!
Mick Gillies
Mar 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Before I enter into the review I would love to mention the amazing use of descriptives I enjoyed within this story. The crisp cunch of grass beneath feet as you walk, rasp of gravel playing under you shoe to the kerplunk of buildings and roads surrendering life to delapidation - signs of an extremely talented author.

The story is set in the quaint Irish village of Poulnabrone which has seen better and happier days but is now succumbing to the ravages of time and decaying from busier earlier days.
Mar 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads, haveread
This very imaginative book offers beautifully written prose and cultural intrigue. I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Absurd Demise of Poulnabrone.

....A month later

Upon further mulling over this engaging tale, I can say that there is movement of plot and characters. However, the greatest strength of the book remains the writing. I found this worth careful reading. I continue to feel grateful to have run across such a worthy book, and I enjoyed the unraveling and transformation which I perceived in
Mar 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Thank you to the author and Goodreads for providing me with a complimentary signed copy of this wonderful book!

A somewhat dark, mysterious story line taking place in a small Irish village called Poulnabrone that kept me riveted from beginning to end. The story was told with a touch of comedy and was somewhat magical and dreamlike. The author's style of writing was very different from anything I have ever read, but I enjoyed the story immensely. I look forward to reading more from this talented
Kalyan Panja
Jun 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
A vigilantly crafted, profoundly heart-rending interpret this fairy-tale is laid down in the old-fashioned Irish village of Poulnabrone which has seen better and happier years other than is at the present giving way to the depredation of time and mouldering as of eventful past years and is a great incursion in the idiosyncratic face of populace muddled up with a calamitous predicament which countenance a lot of consigns in today's world coupled in magnificently in the midst of its oddball reside ...more
Marlene Santos
Mar 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
I received this book from Goodreads, autographed by the author Mr. Howley.
Thank you.
This was a lovely read. Beautifully written.

Poulnabrone is falling and Cornelius knows it. Everyone else just thinks he's crazy except for Malachy.
This is a tale of secrets, lies, dark desires and despair, explored with depth and compelling sincerity.
I loved the story and the characters.
Hope to read Mr.Liam's next novel.

Davor Dimoski
Apr 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I really like the author's writing. He succeeded in capturing every little detail and I could almost feel like I was in Poulnabrone with Cornelius. I felt like I lived every adventure that he did. I am really impressed with this book and I am glad that I did not let this one slip through my hands because it was magical.
Mayank Kashyap
The explanation and descriptions were perfect, though it’s too much at times. Things are portrayed in such a way that you can actually imagine them in front of your eyes. There are some sequences which will bind the readers.

Read full review here:
Donna Schubert
Mar 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
couldn't tear myself away from this beautifully written novel which details the decay and fall of a town
Sammy Petrova
Apr 02, 2014 marked it as to-read
Shelves: won-giveaways
i'm so sorry, this book is written in such a complicated english (for an italian girl), i'm not able to read that, maybe between few years. so so sorry, maybe i'm just nescient.
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Liam Howley was born in 1977. Upon receiving a bachelor's degree in Forestry from University College Dublin, he disappeared into the sea of green that is Amazonian Peru. Emerging with the first leaves of The Absurd Demise of Poulnabrone in hand, he returned to his native city of Dublin, where he lives with his wife and daughter.

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