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The Captains and the Kings
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The Captains and the Kings

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  122 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
Winner of the Author’s Club First Novel Award: Alone with melancholic memories of his past, a widower finds new life after striking up a friendship with a village boy

In County Wicklow, south of Dublin, Mr. Prendergast lives alone in the Big House of his village. A remnant of the long-gone days of the Anglo-Irish Ascendancy, Prendergast’s mansion has been witness to many o
Paperback, 152 pages
Published January 1st 1999 by Headline
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Angela Young
Oct 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Some of Jennifer Johnston's novels are short (this, her first, is 124 pages, her third, The Captains and the Kings is 156 pages and The Christmas Tree my favourite of all her novels, is 183 pages. The books seem slight just because they are thin, but they contain whole worlds that last for far longer in the mind and in the heart than their relatively few pages might suggest. And the lyrical beauty of Johnston's writing seems so natural it reminds me of Fred Astaire's: 'If it doesn't look simple ...more
Sep 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
LOVELY LOVELY LOVELY. I read this book on a dark, stormy day overlooking Chincoteague Bay. It's like the rhythm of waves, it's like the rising of the tide. Be careful it doesn't flood you.
P.S. The beginning is confusing, but it's only testing you.
A. Mary
Mar 17, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: irish-novels
This plot has basic similarities with Bernard McLaverty's Lamb, and these similarities are made especially intense by what we know of child abuses in Irish history. In Johnston's novel, an old man becomes very involved in the life of a boy who is a trouble to his family, who skips school, who doesn't want to be a shop boy. The boy and the man develop a strong bond, which is, of course, misunderstood (sometimes willfully, certainly spitefully) by the boy's parents and others in the village. Where ...more
Lauren Davis
Sep 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A quiet, thoughtful book by a writer who is much underappreciated. She deserves a wide audience, although I fear the sort of book she writes -- gentle, interior, full of the depth of ordinary lives --
is much out of fashion in favor of dystopian horrors, angry screeds, and extreme character portrayals. Pity.

This novel deals with aging and youth, scandalous talk, resentments, misunderstandings, foolishness, closemindedness and the pain of injustice. Set in Ireland in the mid-20th c, Mr. Penderga
Cindy Mondy
Nov 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Paul Gaya Ochieng Simeon Juma
Jun 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: irish
My copy was 142 pages. Finished it in a day. Amongs its themes are death, old age, war, literacy etc. It is based in Ireland. The main character, Mr. Prendergast is escaping the war after loosing his wife who he never appreciated. He is a recluse who awaits nothing but death. He appears to be a cynic who shuns every attempt by other s to help him. A small but powerful book. Highly recommended.
Valerie Poore
Nov 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A beautifully written, deeply moving novel that tells us of the consequences or uninformed prejudice. The main character, Mr Prendergast, has made innumerable mistakes in his personal relationships. Cold, dismissive, and torn by jealousy of a brighter brother who had the love of his beautiful mother, Mr Prendergast keeps the world at arm's length. That is until in his twilight years, a cheeky urchin marches into his life and endears himself to the old man. But his gardener, a drunken, mean man w ...more
Andy Hamilton
May 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favourite books - a book that I treasure. It's incredibly thrilling and evocative story of two seemingly separate lives which come together as they both unravel. From a writing point of view it's technically superb, with some very difficult scenes delivered with total ease - and all the more impressive as it was a debut novel. I think I'll read it again.
Helen O'Neill
Aug 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
A well written novel that despite its brevity manages to portray two very real characters, a young boy and a widower who form a friendship with sad consequences.
Aug 14, 2016 marked it as book-collection  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: available
Irish Independent Great Irish Writers Series
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