Alan Taylor's Reviews > White Church, Black Mountain

White Church, Black Mountain by Thomas Paul Burgess
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really liked it

A really good first novel by Burgess which echoes his academic studies into the Northern Ireland conflict and, particularly, its aftermath. Well plotted across three time periods in the main character's life the novel examines how the Troubles continue to cast a shadow across life in NI. The characters are well drawn - Eban Barnard, a conflicted individual, unsure of his place and reflecting his Ulster Protestant community, fearing a loss of identity, of being sidelined and forgotten, but having attempts to express this frustration hijacked by extremists; Eban's housemates, each struggling with their own sense of identity and how to relate to 'post agreement' Belfast (the dinner party scene is darkly funny but also disturbing and key to understanding the themes of the novel).

Highly recommended. Only a few niggles stop it being a 5-star novel for me but an excellent (fiction) debut and I look forward to seeing what Burgess does next.
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Reading Progress

March 17, 2015 – Started Reading
March 17, 2015 – Shelved
March 22, 2015 – Finished Reading

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