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431 pages, Paperback
First published May 17, 2007
"I suppose you can say my real weakness is a kind of long-sightedness: usually it is only at a distance, and much too late, that I can see the pattern."
"And then, too, I had learned early to assume something dark and lethal hidden at the heart of anything I loved. When I couldn't find it, I responded, bewildered and wary, in the only way I knew how: by planting it there myself."The heart of this book is the story of a friendship between Rob and his partner Cassie Maddox . Rob and Cassie start off enjoying that incredible, intense and yet easy, all-forgiving and natural closeness of a friendship I think every person in the world (non-sociopathic, to be exact) longs for. It's a friendship too beautiful to not be doomed. It is a friendship that many people do not have a privilege to enjoy after they have grown out of their childhood. It's a friendship that brings nostalgic longing from the very first pages on which it is described. And it is, without a doubt, my favorite part of this book.
"But a girl who goes into battle beside you and keeps your back is a different thing, a thing to make you shiver. Think of the first time you slept with someone, or the first time you fell in love: that blinding explosion that left you crackling to the fingertips with electricity, initiated and transformed. I tell you that was nothing, nothing at all, beside the power of putting your lives, simply and daily, into each other's hands."This book takes us onto a journey to the sadness and bleakness and hopelessness. The mystery of what happened twenty years ago to Rob, the psychological fallout he still suffers from decades later, the senselessness of the new murder, , the burden of crushing loneliness, the habitual cruelty of the world, the casual mentions of the depressing parts of the society like the persistent corruption. None of this is a feel-good reading. None of this has a resolution that the readers hope for (or any resolution at all for some of the above!). It is painful and yet touching and beautiful, and so unbelievably close to perfect - at least it was for me.
"For a moment, I felt as if the universe had turned upside down and we were falling softly into an enormous black bowl of stars, and I knew, beyond any doubt, that everything was going to be alright."I loved this book to pieces, even though I could not shake off the overwhelming feeling of sadness and hollowness after finishing it. I loved it despite (or maybe because?) of the frustrating incompleteness of some plot lines, the frequent lack of resolution, and the unfulfillment of my wishes for the characters and events. I know I will read it again in the future, curious to know how my reading experience will be changed once I know what's coming. In the meantime, I highly recommend it. 5 stars with no hesitation.
"There was a time when I believed I was the redeemed one, the boy borne safely home on the ebb of whatever freak tide carried Peter and Jamie away. Not any more. In ways too dark and crucial to be called metaphorical, I never left that wood."-------------
"Not any more. In ways too dark and crucial to be called metaphorical, I never left that wood."
I love it most of all on your bog-standard Irish days, when wind blows rain-spatter in your face and everything blurs into elusive, Puritan half-tones: gray-white clouds, gray-green sea off on the horizon, great sweep of bleached-fawn sand edged with a scatter of broken shells, wide abstract curves of dull silver where the tide is coming in unevenly.