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In a story told by Jack McNulty, the brother of Eneas and Tom McNulty, this beautifully-written book fleshes out the narrator's life and that of his wife Mai, and at the same time fills in gaps in our understanding of the extended family. Barry's The Secret Scripture and The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty are companion novels to The Temporary Gentleman. All are written in staggeringly beautiful prose and are, at times, almost unbearable in their detailing of the tragedy of Ireland's political conflicts, the treatment of women, and, in this book, alcoholism. While telling us of his wife's descent into alcoholism, Jack McNulty reveals even more about himself and his culpability in her situation.
Frank Grimes does a marvelous job of the narration. These novels by Sebastian Barry (and the ones about the Dunnes: Annie Dunne, A Long, Long Way and On Canaan's Side) are to be listened to and/or read slowly, and savored. They are not all available in audiobook form; I recommend ingesting them in any form you find.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
I have heard that this author is known for his dense literary style of writing and this is certainly a true example. I get the sense that every sentence has been worked on over and over again until it is honed to perfection. By and large this works as a masterwork but I did think the result was a little too self conscious to draw me into the story. This is probably fortunate as this is a grim tale of lives destroyed by alcoholism and gambling and a woman's descent into misery and self destruction.
I have heard Sebastian Barry's books are very good so I am a little sorry I started with this one. Overall this was not for me but I can understand why he is so widely admired.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
Would you consider the audio edition of The Temporary Gentleman to be better than the print version?
I haven't read the print version but audio is so good I would heartily recommend
What was one of the most memorable moments of The Temporary Gentleman?
When he meets May first.
Which scene did you most enjoy?
When he meets May's family
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
2 of 3 people found this review helpful