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Publisher's Summary

At once epic and intimate, the story of Lilly Bere unfurls as she tries to make sense of the sorrows and troubles of her life and of the people whose lives she has touched. Spanning nearly seven decades, from Dublin at the end of the First World War to Lilly's life in the new world of America, it is a novel of memory, war, family ties, and love.
©2011 Sebastian Barry (P)2011 W F Howes Ltd
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Customer Reviews

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By Margaret on 12-06-11

For me .... disappointing

I found it very hard to listen to. I was not at all engaged with the story. The narration was pleasant enough - but the book was not to my likeing. I think it is a personal preference (or lack thereof) rather than a bad book. However, I will not be rushing off to buy more Sebastian Barry books. Remember, my taste is not the same as everyone else - so do not be afraid to buy and try if the synopsis appeals.

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Customer Reviews

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By Declan on 08-25-11

Beautifully written story

Sebastian Barry really is one of the great authors of our age, coming that fine tradition of Anglo Irish writing his wordcraft is simply beautiful. This book is well deserving of it's Booker nomination and must be a potential winner.

As with his previous book, The Secret Scripture, this book deals with memories of an elderly Irish woman looking back over her life.. including acts of terrorism, murder, explosions, deceit, multiple wars, racism, emigration and more.. the book spreads the story across Ireland and America and sheds a light on the oft forgotten side of Irish history, the "loyal Irish".

This historical novel wraps several real events (eg the Cleveland Gas Explosion of 1944) into the story which really captures the interest. It reminds me somewhat of Dennis Lehane's A Given Day, although it is more personal and less epic in it's sweep..and significantly shorter!

The story is read well by an Irish American actress who sucessfully captures the voice of the young and old characters alike.

If you are fan of Sebastian Barry's books this is definitely for you, if you a new to him it is a great introduction, familiarity with US or Irish history is not a prerequisite.. just jump in and enjoy!

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful


By Jane Counter on 02-22-13

Worth persevering

Unlike a couple of the reviewers above, who were instantly captivated by this book, I found it hard going at first, and almost gave up. The first hour or more is very descriptive and it's difficult to get a handle on what is going on, or has happened in the past. Yes, it's beautifully written, and certainly beautifully read, and if that's enough for you, you will indeed love it from the beginning. However, by the second hour, when some sense of a story begins to develop, it gets a lot better, and with some idea of where it's going you can appreciate the writing even more. I enjoyed it very much by the end, and consider it definitely worth persevering with.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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