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Publisher's Summary

Nearing her 100th birthday, Roseanne McNulty faces an uncertain future, as the Roscommon Regional Mental Hospital where's she spent most of her adult life prepares for closure. Over the weeks leading up to this upheaval, she talks with her psychiatrist, Dr. Greene, and their relationship intensifies and complicates. Told through their respective journals, the story that emerges is at once shocking and deeply beautiful: a secret history of Ireland's changing character and the story of a life blighted by terrible mistreatment and ignorance. Short listed for the Man Booker 2008 Prize
©2008 Sebastian Barry; (P)2008 Oakhill Publishing
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Customer Reviews

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By Katrine on 03-15-10

Grim, and somehow elating..

This story still haunts me a week after I finished the book. I'm not able to focus on the book I'm trying to listen to now, I still have Roseannes voice in my head. Beautifully written, beautifully narrated. I haven't quite made up my mind about the ending though...

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

By Susan on 02-12-13

A story to move even a hardened heart

How does a hidden history in our family affect the life we live. What do the secrets do to us, unbidden. Sebastian Barry writes beautifully, poignantly and with a depth that, in the end made me put my hand to my mouth to supress the gasp as the secrets are unravelled and the truth is finally revealed. There is 100 years of Irish history in this novel, seen through the eyes of Rosanne as she writes down what has never been told of her life. Then there is Dr Green, Rosanne's psychiatrist, who is trying to unwrap her silence gently, respectfully and with dignity.

I am deeply moved by this book and give thanks to Stephen Hogan for giving a voice to both Rosanne and Dr Green. His narration could not have been better and as I listened, his voice became my own voice as the story evolved and stirred the tragedy of Rosanne and of those who had pulled the strings of her life.

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By Claire on 12-24-12


An excellent read, brilliant book. Sensitively reflecting on a tragic wasted life due to narrow minded intolerance and ignorance. I stayed up half the night listening not wanting to stop.

When i finished I listened again straight away as I the story line intertwines and I wanted to clarify the details I enjoyed it more the second time. Haunting and thought provoking.

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11 of 11 people found this review helpful

By Patricia on 07-26-15

Intriguing story with exceptional narration

I read this book when it was first published and enjoyed it all over again, thanks to the very talented narrator - not to mention the subtlety of the outstanding writing. It's an example of the power of the Catholic Church and its priests in early 20thc Ireland and how it profoundly affects the main character in the story.

The hypocrisy is breathtaking; the social history of the period brilliantly brought to life and it's also very poignant. Highly recommended.

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10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Anonymous User on 01-06-18

wonderful stroy

sad irish catholic story, beautifully written and narrated. very descriptive and highly recommended there there

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