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Fool's Sanctuary

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  99 ratings  ·  14 reviews
The Great War is over; but the war in Ireland is only just beginning, as the IRA and the Black and Tans move on to the attack. It all seems very remote to Miranda Martin, during that miraculous Indian summer. Her father, hoping to forget his dead wife, thinks of nothing but his trees; Miranda thinks of the future, a future which must surely include Cathal, who brings news ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published January 7th 1999 by Headline
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Average rating 3.74  · 
Rating details
 ·  99 ratings  ·  14 reviews

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Jan 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: irish-lit, 2015-reads
A mournful, bleak, but beautiful novel.
A. Mary
Mar 02, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: irish-novels
I just didn't like it. There's a thin handling of every character and situation, simplistic, in my opinion. There's nothing to make a reader feel or believe that Miranda is as supernaturally to be adored as Johnston tells us she is, or that Andrew is justified in being such a total prick, so he's just a total prick, or that Harry is as funny as Miranda keeps saying he is. Often, Johnston requires me to have some patience until her plots or characters engage me, but this time, it never happened. ...more
Melanie Vidrine
Bleak and dreary......I have read five other Johnston novels and admired and enjoyed them. Not so here. Maybe it’s me, this time. The ghostly characters were more believable than the live ones.
Marian Wernicke
Apr 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I recently discovered this amazing Irish writer! Subtle and very skilled at plot, character and setting. Love her work!
Aug 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A moving story of a family and a young couple torn apart...themes of loyalty to family and nation, duty and love. Succinct as Jennifer Johnston usually is.
Feb 25, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not really sure what to say about this. I picked it up at the library because of the Penguin binding, and because the blurb on the back was intriguing, and right up my alley time period-wise. But I feel like I raced through it, it was so short. I think I'm going to read one of Jennifer Johnston's longer books, because the prevailing feeling I had while reading this one was MORE. Though she does that thing that Muriel Spark does that drives me mad, where she reveals the most important event o ...more
Apr 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book reminded me very much of "Atonement" (the film, not the book, since, frankly, I couldn't get past the first 50 pages of the book), but better because the book was so smartly written with flashbacks that were well spaced throughout the book's central action.

I wonder what McEwan would say about this potent novel filled with ghosts, dashed love, family struggles. I loved the father and his life's work. I loved the way his calm, mindful environmentalism (or socialism as others perceived it
Edward Lee
Jul 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
A typically excellent novel from the criminally-undersung Jennifer Johnston. The story revolves around Irish politics and society, and part of its brilliance is in the portrayal of those who mete out fatal justice (as they see it) to their opponents. Johnston does not deal in cliches, and there is no character who emerges as entirely saint or sinner. There is a particular description of death which is exquisitely rendered and intensely moving, and which stayed (and stays) in my mind long after t ...more
Jul 25, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As I noted at the time, this book (set in post-WWI Ireland) was very much like a play: in fact, its premise was a woman on her deathbed, remembering the tragic events of her youth as a play ("just one more time I must assemble the cast)." ...more
Dec 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is perhaps the most beautiful, heart breaking book I've read. It is perfection. Every word carries meaning. I learned more about the Irish Tragedy from this slim volume than countless history books. ...more
Aug 15, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book moves seamlessly between Miranda's deathbed, her memories, and the Irish fight for independence in the 1920s. The book reminds me of Elizabeth Bowen's The Last September, but the Anglo-Irish in Johnston are not as politically clueless. ...more
Feb 02, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I registered a book at!
Feb 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Susan by: Author rec. by Kimbofo
Shelves: fiction
Conflicting loyalties lead to tragedy in 1920's Ireland in this beautifully written, clearly observed short novel which captures the truth of those times with the inevitability of a minuet. ...more
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Jennifer Johnston is an Irish novelist and playwright.

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

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