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No Country for Young Men

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  68 ratings  ·  8 reviews
Set in present-day Dublin, No Country for Young Men involves an Irish-American targeted for elimination by terrorists, an unsolved 1922 murder, a moving love affair, a mad nun and what happens to a society when memory displaces thought.
Paperback, 416 pages
Published November 1st 1987 by Carroll & Graf Publishers (first published 1980)
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This is another book from the 1980 Booker shortlist, which is currently the subject of a group reading project at The Mookse and the Gripes. I was very impressed - both the book and the writer were previously unfamiliar to me but they don't deserve to be forgotten.

This is a story rooted in the political and ideological history of modern Ireland, but also about how the culture shapes the expectations of people who live there and the complex relationship of the Irish with their American diaspora.
Jonathan Pool
I came across Julia O'Faolain as a consequence of an excellent Mookse and Gripes Goodreads group visit to the Booker Prize shortlist from 1980 (the group read/ discussion ongoing as of Feb 2017).

What a find.
This really is very good historical fiction.

"No Country for Young Men" is a book about Irish history:
"a repeatedly defeated island, throttled by ancient and fermented rage"p144
and it's a book that considers the role of women in Ireland over the last one hundred years.
"a non swimmer in the flo
Jun 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: irish
The sister of Irish resistance leaders is shuffled off to a convent to keep her quiet about what she knows. As the story opens, the convent is shutting down and the nun, now in full dementia, is shuffled back to her nearest kin. This is probably one of the most understandable views of the Irish resistance I have ever read. If I understood her, she says that the Irish must continue to resist just to let the British know that they have not been won over, despite the impossibility of pushing them o ...more
Mar 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Though nominated for the Booker, this 1980 novel, apparently out of print, shouldn't be. Its so rich, so clever, so well-written, with many memorable characters and absolutely great dialogue that I was thrilled to be reading it and happier that it was had been highly recommended by a reliable friend/reader. Ireland's struggles and "troubles" continue to haunt and the politics inform the characters' lives and actions. A particularly strong character is a nun with a secret going back to the 1920's ...more
Colin Davison
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 05, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was excited to read this book as I'm fascinated with all things to do with Ireland, the IRA, and The Troubles, and as it had been nominated for the Booker Prize, I was expecting some quality prose. Unfortunately, the reality was a murky, slow-paced, depressing and self absorbed novel. Every character is extremely unlikable and unsympathetic. Grainne is married to her cousin Michael, who is a drunkard who lost his beautiful singing voice in a tavern brawl; she has a brief affair with her other ...more
Donal O Suilleabhain
Mar 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
This is a dull dour novel set in a grey miserable Ireland populated by stereotypes. Didn't enjoy and found it difficult to force myself to read. ...more
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The Mookse and th...: 1980 Shortlist: No Country for Young Men 8 33 Mar 08, 2017 11:25PM  

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