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No Bones

3.13  ·  Rating details ·  148 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
SHORTLISTED FOR THE ORANGE PRIZE FOR FICTION 2002 – a stunning debut novel about a little girl growing up in the Ardoyne area of Belfast.

Every single night and every single day Amelia goes upstairs to look at her treasure: a miniature plastic sheep, a Black Queen chess piece, a penny prayer for serenity, a tube of glitter – and thirty-seven black rubber bullets she’s colle
Paperback, 321 pages
Published October 4th 2010 by Flamingo (first published 2001)
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(showing 1-30)
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Mar 23, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book covers the "Troubles" in Northern Ireland from the 1960s to the 1990s. It is told primarily from the perspective of one young girl who grew up in the midst of Belfast in those years.

I don't usually mind reading about difficult things. The perspective of this book is really interesting, and eventually turns into an analysis of mental health as much as a tale of Ireland. It's all of the despicable characters who eventually made me not love the book. I'm glad I read it, but wouldn't reco
Rebecca McNutt
This book tries way too hard to be messed up just for shock value, but it has no substance behind it. Aside from being pervy and twisted, it's just another book about a sullen girl with a dysfunctional family. Running with Scissors, I think we've found you a girlfriend! :)
Tom Byrne
Jun 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Burns uses her experience growing up in Belfast to present an unsentimental, realistic, and troubled perspective that is bound to make readers squirm.

Northern Ireland is an enigma for many readers, with a past, present, and future understood only through sound bites and partisan scholarship. WIthout apology, Burns allows readers to come to their own conclusions.

Jul 25, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This started out well.."Amelia remembered when the Troubles began." The way troubles is capitalized, I felt excited to learn what they were. At first, there were typical Troubles like her brother stealing her chest of "treasures" when she was six or the new puppies having to be drowned because no one wanted them or could care for them, then the Troubles escalated to things like one girl hitting another girl in the face with a typewriter, a Dad hanging himself for losing someone else's money and ...more
Marguerite Kaye
I didn't know what to think of this book. I've given it three stars because it was compelling and at times hilarious and really well written, but it also made me very, very uncomfortable and occassionally confused and I was left completly - I just don't know. I really admired the writing and the author for writing it, and to treat such sensitive subject matter in such a way was bold, really bold. Overall, this book was an experience, I just can't say what kind.
Rima Rashid
Mar 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Meet Amelia Boyd Lovett. Every single night and every single day Amelia goes upstairs to look at her treasure in a big battered suitcase: a miniature plastic sheep, a Black Queen chess piece...and thirty-seven black rubber bullets she's collected ever since the British Army started firing them...
One Goodreads review said that No Bones tries too hard to be messed up by being pervy and twisted. I thought it was an ironic and dysfunctional way to show how violence in Ireland affects children.
I don't really know where to begin or what to say about this book. It was hot mess from the start.

The story begins with a young girl, and her life growing up in troubled times in Ireland. If the story kept with that theme it really could have been a good story. But every chapter was a completely different story (none of which had anything to do with the next or previous), at times different people, and all of it was so over the top, raunchy or just stupid. Most of the chapters did nothing for t
Mar 04, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I hate this book.

I'm almost done and can't even finish it.
In fact. Not only can I not finish it, but I can't even bring myself to start another book. That's how much I hate it.

It started out fine. I liked it in the beginning. But then it just fell apart. It turned into utter chaos. I'm sure I'm supposed to like it. I'm supposed to think that the deteriorating clarity in the novel reflects the deteriorating mental and physical situation of the characters, but to me it just seems like a mess. It f
Joann Carol
Feb 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fiction but reads like memoir. Makes one wonder how autobiographical it is. The chaos of living inside a war-zone as a child/teen/young adult is well-portrayed. Very engrossing writing.
Dec 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fragmented, disjointed but with a heartbreaking resounding truth. Through a mess of stories and thoughts Anna Burns takes us into the Amelia's world without trying attempting sentiment...watching the effect of the troubles on the children who grew up "unable to write about peace" we watch Amelia innocently digress from boys, to starvation to alcoholism...we watch those around her fall apart and yet refreshingly there is no point when we are meant to pity any of these characters. We understand mo ...more
Oct 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this. I see from other reviews that this is a book which people either love or hate. I certainly fall into the first category. The writing style is hard - there is no doubt Anna Burns makes you work as a reader but that is no bad thing. Parts of the book are funny, sad, dark, and most of all painfully truthful. Having grown up at the same time as Anna' main character in the west of Scotland during the Troubles this just brought to life the terrible price paid by people just a short dista ...more
Set in Northern Ireland shortly before "the Troubles" descend. Reads more like a set of short stories with one person being the thread the binds them together. A bit weird and unsettling. i really struggled to finish this book but if you persevere you'll understand why it;s written this way. Not a feel good book.
May 02, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
For some reason, the cover of this book inspired me to pick it up. When I was about two chapters into it, I realized that I'd already started this book once and gave up. This time I stuck through the entire thing, but I just didn't care for the way that the way that time flows in this book. It was choppy and I just couldn't keep the characters straight.
Jul 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I have a hard time rating disturbing books because often I don't like them in the end, but this book kept me interested and going back for more.

Amelia Lovett grows up during the turmoil in Ireland fomr the late 60s to the 80s and the story proceeds from horror to horror. It's hard to remember that that happened and how many peoples lives were destroyed.

Clara Givens
Jun 15, 2007 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no-one i can think of :0(
This book wasn’t for me... I really didn’t enjoy reading it at all; the only thing that got me through to the end was my stubbornness to finish it! (all the time hoping that it would soon get interesting/good)
Anna Kozakova
May 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very compelling and hilarious story. I've borrowed this book randomly from a library just because I liked the cover and wanted to read something in English. Then I've read it over and over again each year.
Jan 27, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I leave for Belfast in 3 days and am currently reading everything involving Northern Ireland that has ever been written... with mixed reviews.
Jul 29, 2011 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
02 short list-orange prize
Oct 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How do the individuals that make up this community survive the daily thump of violence. The answer is they don't. We know this from the beginning, but still it breaks our heart.
Atmospheric and sad.
Sep 17, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: f-ed-up-teens
What better setting for a f***ed up childhood than war torn Belfast? This book does not pull any punches. Reader beware.
Aprille O'Neill-Kemp
Ugh, I struggled to finish this one. It just wasn't that interesting, and I found it a bit hard to follow as well.
Feb 23, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I did not like it at all and couldn't even make it through half.
Mar 09, 2009 marked it as will-return-to-later  ·  review of another edition
Meh, I probably won't return to this. But who knows.
May 15, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a book about a girl growing up in Belfast during the Troubles. It is an interesting book, sometimes humorous, often sad.
Mar 30, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't finish it... even get through 1/3 of it. The topic was so interesting but the writing is horrible.
Apr 21, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir-biography
This book was far too difficult to read (emotionally) -- I didn't finish. The Troubles. What an inadequate name for a horrific time.
Sep 01, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite a disturbing story but very well written
rated it really liked it
Apr 30, 2007
Parmita Ghosh
rated it it was ok
Mar 13, 2013
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Anna Burns (born 1962) is an Irish author. She was born in Belfast and moved to London in 1987. Her first novel, No Bones, is an account of a girl's life growing up in Belfast during the Troubles.

Winner of the 2001 Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize
Shortlisted for the 2002 Orange Prize (No Bones)
More about Anna Burns...

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