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Sebastian Barry

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message 1: by Peter (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:02PM) (new)

Peter | 8 comments Sebastian Barry is an incredible new (well, in the last ten years or so) Irish writer hailing from Dublin. He has three novels: The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty (1998), Annie Dunne (2001), and A Long, Long Way (2005).

I was originally fascinated with Eneas McNulty because the McNulty family hailed from Strandhill in Co. Sligo, where my grandfather was born and raised, and Eneas himself felt the wrath of the nationalist community by becoming an officer of the Royal Irish Constabulary just before WWI and the Irish uprising, as one of my great-uncles did.

Annie Dunne and her Waterford family are minor figures in Eneas McNulty, and it is Annie's brother who is the main character who experiences hell in the trenches as a British doughboy in Long, Long Way.

Barry is a great storyteller, and his prose is about as beautiful as I've read since Thomas Flanagan's "Year of the French."

He is also a poet and a playwright.

Anybody familiar with Barry or his work?

message 2: by David (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:02PM) (new)

David (david_giltinan) | 6 comments Peter:

I also liked "The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty", but haven't read any of his other work.

So many books, so little time.

message 3: by Lanea (new)

Lanea | 1 comments Barry is a master, and his plays are at least as enjoyable as his novels. I had the pleasure of hearing him read from A Long Long Way soon after its release and I was transfixed.

message 4: by Erin (new)

Erin (erinlf) | 2 comments I read "A Long Long Way" in 2007 and really enjoyed it. It was my first Barry book and I'll definitely be reading more.

message 5: by Joan (new)

Joan | 8 comments are these books semi biographical?

message 6: by Frank (new)

Frank (westmeather) | 5 comments I first heard of Barry a few weeks ago on NPR (here in the States): R.L. Stein, the author of the "Goosebumps" series, gave a devastating positive review of A Long, Long Way. So when I was in Boston last week and came across a copy of Annie Dunne on the remainders rack outside Borders, I picked it up. I'm about a quarter way into it now and I must say the prose is lovely, but seems to me somehow "disingenuous". My own mother grew up on a farm of land in rural Ireland in the 1940s-'50s, and while she has the gread ability to turn a phrase, I can't imagine her (or anyone who isn't an author crafting their work) having the kind of mental musing Mr. Barry attributes to Annie Dunne.

There also seems a bitterness in this (and from what I've read about his other works in those as well) about the 'displacement' of Anglo- or Protestant Irish after independence. A bitterness that one doesn't see in William Trevor's work (for example), which covers some of the same ground; and Trevor, in his own experience, is much closer to the historical events. It would make for an interesting comparison for some grad thesis or disertation. Not only on strictly literary grounds, but socio-politcal: what happens in a post-colonial society when the oppressing minority becomes the oppressed minority?

Good stuff, though. I'm interested to see how it plays out and would like to read A Long, Long Way.

message 7: by Frank (new)

Frank (westmeather) | 5 comments Update: I've had an eye opened for A Long, Long Way for almost a year now, but hadn't come across it in the States; when I was in Dublin last month I finally was able to get a copy. I nearly swallowed it whole: it was a delicious read. It also made more sense of Annie Dunne, which is curious and that book came out first; I wonder if Barry was working on A Long, Long Way and took a little break to do Annie Dunne, which is a much more slender book altogether.

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