Bridget's Reviews > Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland

Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe
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it was amazing
bookshelves: 2019

WHAT a book. This is ostensibly a book about the disappearance of a woman during The Troubles but there is so much more here than meets the eye. There are three main threads running through the story: an oral history archive at Boston College, a widowed mother of ten, and a pair of revolutionary sisters. The book circles back on each thread three times: first, the bare facts of what happened, then how these facts evolved as time passed and more information was revealed in fits and stars, and finally one last turn in which all is made clear. It is a story of a disappearance but it is recursive, thoughtful, and highly contextualized.

I was touched and, I'll admit, surprised at the level of care and detail given to all the characters' experiences but especially the sisters' struggles with a hunger strike in prison. I think many books would have looked away after the strike was over, but this one lingers and gives room for the ensuing disordered eating and anorexia that plagued the sisters for the rest of their lives. It was very female gaze-y (the author is a man) and I loved the warmth and regard for humanity it brought to the story - even regarding members of humanity who have done horrible things.

This is one of those gasp-out-loud books, a book where you clap your hand over your mouth in awe/sadness/shock/empathy throughout. Truly excellent.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
June 7, 2019 – Finished Reading
June 8, 2019 – Shelved as: 2019
June 8, 2019 – Shelved

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