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No Country

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  266 ratings  ·  56 reviews
Spanning two centuries and three continents, from famine-stricken Ireland to colonial India to modern-day upstate New York, No Country is a riveting, enchanting melting pot of a story about history, family, fate, and the enduring ties of friendship.

In rural Ireland in 1843, Padraig Aherne leaves behind his best friend, Brendan, and girlfriend, Brigid, and sets off to Dubli
Hardcover, 551 pages
Published June 17th 2014 by Simon Schuster (first published June 1st 2014)
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Ipshita As literary as Amitav Ghosh's The Shadow Lines. I wish Kalyan Ray's 'No Country' becomes a compulsory read for Literature students. …moreAs literary as Amitav Ghosh's The Shadow Lines. I wish Kalyan Ray's 'No Country' becomes a compulsory read for Literature students. (less)
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Average rating 3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  266 ratings  ·  56 reviews

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Jun 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A very enthusiastic five stars! This is an immensely readable, hugely satisfying novel which spans generations and countries. The author weaves characters and plots seamlessly. This is not only an epic book in terms of story telling and writing, it is impossible to put down. Fans of Maeve Binchy or generational sagas will enjoy this book but to put them in the same category does a disservice to Kalyan Ray whose writing adds historic depth and descriptive imagery to make No Country one of the bes ...more
Penny (Literary Hoarders)
Read this. So freaking fantastically fabulous. Have you started reading this yet? Go - now - do it. I absolutely LOVED it. I just finished and I want to go back and start it all over again.
Renita D'Silva
Jun 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this book! Beautifully written, encompassing three centuries, covering so much history of several countries, describing pithily and without fanfare the unspeakable things we humans inflict on each other, spanning love and loss and hurt and heartache, famine and festivities. An epic, a masterpiece. Beautiful! One to reread.
First of all, I would like to thank Mr. Ray for writing such a wonderfully, marvelous book. He is a great storyteller.

This story starts out in Ireland where two friends, Brendan McCarthaigh and Padrig Aherne, are watching the events of many difficulties in their homeland, Ireland.

They both leave their Irish roots and one goes off to India (Padrig) and the other to America, New York (Brendan). Once in their new homes they find many challenges for themselves and their families.

Each chapter is wri
Apr 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of this book as a Goodreads giveaway.

Growing up, raiding my parent's bookshelves, I discovered the novels of John Jakes. His series: The Kent Family Chronicles particularly grabbed my attention. These were big, long books with various historical figures interacting with the Kent family; lots of violence and lots of sex. I fell into their convoluted stories as easily as slipping over the guardrails and falling into the Grand Canyon. They were great.

When I grabbed No Country by
Apr 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
I received No Country as part of a Goodreads giveaway.

In the 1840s, Padraig Aherne mistakenly leaves his native Ireland for British India, unknowingly leaving a pregnant girlfriend and his friend Brendan behind. Padraig establishes himself in the exotic world of British India, while Brendan is forced to flee famine, settling in the northeastern United States (along with Padraig's now-motherless daughter). As the storyline jumps around to different locales and characters throughout the decades, w
Catherine Davison
Jan 05, 2017 rated it did not like it
I wish there was a way to ascertain on Goodreads how alike the readers are to my own tastes. I bought this book after doing a quick check and noted that it had lots of five and four star ratings. Now that I've read 200 pages i realize that it's a bit of fluff and nonsense written in the style that would appeal to young adults perhaps 13 year olds. It's not at all a book I'd recommend to serious readers. ...more
Jan 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received an electronic advanced reading copy of this from the publisher via NetGalley.

I quickly became enraptured by "No Country" and continued to enjoy its lush backdrops and interwoven stories of humanity until the bittersweet ends. The novel is aptly named because at its center the novel is about the human condition of being born, growing up, living, and dying, in various nation states of this Earth that are each indistinguishable in their basic challenges and joys.

Starting in Ireland, the
Aug 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is the book that happens when you mix a talented writer with an ineffectual editor. The book traces two branches of one family, down 5 generations, plus another 4 or so generations of another family that intertwines with it. Then there are chapters with the life stories of supporting characters (one gives the entire life story of a character who is deathly ill at the end of the previous chapter and who dies at the beginning of the following chapter; another gives the life story of a charact ...more
Jun 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Breathtaking. A well crafted epic that spans the globe; Ireland, India, America. It begins in 1843, with two Irish best friends who live in Mullaghmore, County Sligo in Western Ireland. Having spent two weeks in County Sligo last year, I fell in love with this area even more while reading this book. Elegant writing. A small sample:

"Our fireplaces kept us warm, and in their embers we cooked our sod-grown potatoes, delicious as no other, cool and earthy to the touch, cooked to perfection in our ve
Kayla Tornello
Jul 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaways, adult
This book weaves together the lives of characters across time and countries into an intricate web. Little by little, the book reveals how one central character, an Irishman named Padraig Aherne, impacts the lives of future generations in India and the United States. I like the different voices for each of the characters, even though it does get difficult to keep track of how each one is related to the next. The details of each life in its own time and place are fascinating. Each individual story ...more
May 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Read this book, if for nothing other than the history lesson, starting in Ireland and continuing in India and America. The story crosses over several generations with the central characters influencing the generations after them. Some of the stories are uplifting, but often they are downright tragic; the incredible bad luck that befalls some of them is just awful! The coincidence at the end of the novel, when it is revealed, is breath-taking, especially as the reader knows of the connections tha ...more
Jun 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I haven't enjoyed a book as much as I've enjoyed this in a long long time. It is both heartbreaking and brimming with hope. As I've spent most of my adult life being a wanderer, the central theme of what makes a home, whether house, family, people or country, really resonates with me. It is about losing roots and connections, yet forging new ones. It is gritty, gory and tragic at times yet it is also full of possibility. I would recommend this book to anyone that struggles with the concept of ho ...more
Aug 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Mr. Kalyan Ray is a master storyteller. I would recommend this book to all my Irish and Indian friends and I would like to know what they think of this novel. It was harrowing at times and I did have to put the book down and take a break.
Lady R
Jul 14, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
DNF at 295 pages...
The first 150 pages read well and it’s a story well-told although heavily cliched in places and I’ve read better books on the same subject (eg Joseph O’ Connor).
For me the enjoyment changed when we get introduced to the main protagonists descendants: the timeline then jumps rapidly onwards and new characters are introduced without any build up or cohesion so the story just fell apart.

It’s also very obvious from the start of this novel how the crime element of it ends which w
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
no hesitation in giving this book a five star rating. It is such a good book to read. I felt as if i was on the journeys with Brendan, Padraig, especially, and the way the stories of their lives unfolded and went on, and then onto the next generations and the next after that, culminating in the end of the story , which is where the book starts. The book is also a good history lessson about Ireland and India and the issues facing the peoples who see themselves as not of one but of two cultures.
Jul 11, 2019 rated it liked it
This book had great potential. Unfortunately the many characters were not discussed well. The author switched characters often, and would call the same character by many names. The story also jumped years, decades, and days very frequently. It took focus to follow along. I enjoyed how the ending did finally connect all the characters. It was great to read when I had time to truly concentrate on the story line.
Jane Burford
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A fabulous story spanned over several generations. It’s one of the best generational stories I’ve ever read. So much depth and character development and tragic but wonderful stories. I sometimes had to refer back to remember who was who. Can’t help but love this story. Highly recommend
May 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Historical....Ireland, India, Canada, New York 1840s-1980s....lives of descendants of Irish boy, segmented yet connected, historical context along the way.
Aug 04, 2020 rated it it was ok
Might not be fair, but I wasn't too interested and after reading reviews decided to stop reading. I was about halfway through. ...more
Casee Marie
Aug 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Kalyan Ray’s No Country is a special book, full of surprises at every turn of the page and bursting with emotion. An intricate tapestry of the human condition, No Country first tells the story of Brendan McCarthaigh and Padraig Aherne, boyhood friends growing up together in 19th century Ireland. Brendan is a bookish introvert while Padraig positively explodes with energy, finding fervor in the blossoming rebellion of Irishmen against the domineering English. When Padraig follows his passion to D ...more
Jun 06, 2014 rated it liked it
There is quite a bit to commend No Country. Ray has a wonderful style--when he writes about the characters in Ireland, I hear an Irish accent; in India they have and Indian accent, and so forth. For the first half of the book, I was completely drawn in. The characters were so compelling that I just could not put the book down.

Unfortunately, something happened halfway through the book. Honestly, I can't put my finger on. The best guess I have is that Ray's long vision for the book--which I think
Jack O'Rourke
Aug 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Ray's book was a good read. It had topics and places that provided many evenings of absorbed reading. It's a generational saga novel that begins in Ireland during the famine years of An Gorta Mor, the Great Hunger, in the mid nineteenth century. The two principal characters, Padraig and Brendan are young men who are best friends. Their lives are disrupted by the events in Ireland and Padraig is forced to flee Ireland, winding up in India, during the time of the British Raj, when India was run by ...more
Jul 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book is simply stunning. I want to give it 5 stars but the coincidental placement of characters in key historical moments of Ireland, India, and the US over nearly two centuries and the unlikely relationships among characters across generations makes this novel somewhat unbelievable. But the writing is gorgeous, the storyline compelling, and the meditation on history and country thought-provoking. If you are looking for a narrative that beautifully explores family, nationhood, life, death, ...more
Jul 03, 2015 rated it it was ok
Disappointing. This was a five star read for me up until about page 395. Then, the last 150 or so pages , I could not get into..borderline hated. The part that I loved, I adored..i got so involved in the characters lives , then..bam..the author gets into Padraig's decedents stories and they seemed so detached and so far removed from the original plot. I found myself saying "who the hell is this?" and not caring one bit about any of the people in the last 150 pages.
It really saddens me to get so
Claire Osgood
Oct 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Author is a wonderful storyteller. Historical novel brings to life the life of the rural Irish before, during, and after the Potato Famine that decimated that country's population. It also has accounts of India before, during, and after the partition of that British colony into Pakistan and India. The multi generational tales of two families and their friends leaving their countries of birth can be heart wrenching. Their lives, and those of their progeny intertwine on and off until the conclusio ...more
Jo Dervan
Feb 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is the story of Irish immigrants who leave their country during the potato famine. One ends up in India where he marries an Indian woman and prospers. The other ends up in Vermont on a farm. These parallel stories show how Irish immigrants have fared in places other than their native country. The author has shown us how someone from country can make a new life abroad while passing down his heritage to new generations.
Kelsey Burnette
Jun 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Beautiful, sad, somehow simultaneously heart-breaking and heart-warming. Consider mapping the family trees and intertwining stories as you go. Such a rich story. Explores the complexity of family and home and belonging. Surely there would be less fear and hatred if we all felt so connected to our history, our ancestors, and how they can criss-cross the globe leaving us feeling that we belong nowhere and everywhere. No country. Every country. This is a book I will think about for a long time.
Gretchen Downey
Aug 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This was an well written book that I enjoyed very much. The historical fiction piece was very informative and well researched. Since I had Irish ancestors that made the same journey as some of these characters it was very interesting to me. The narration constantly changes and at times can seem more like reading short stories than a novel. Eventually it all comes together in a surprising ending.
Jan 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book--learned more about Anglo-Indian history and became attached to the characters. However, the rather fantastical ways in which the Aherne and Mitra families' lives were intertwined kept this from being a five star review. I also did not feel it was necessary for the author to weave in so many major historical events (the potato blight, The pre-union sweatshop fires in NYC, Partition, etc) into the novel. ...more
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Kalyan Ray has taught in Greece, Ecuador, Jamaica and the Philippines where he was a Visiting Professor of Comparative Theology. He has long been associated with Indian social-service organizations, and collaborated with Mother Teresa doing the translations and voice-over for the first documentary on her work.

He has lived in India, Ireland, the Philippines, and currently divides his time between t

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