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A Long Long Way May 19, 2008

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery.
Tags: , , , ,

Gosh the bloggery rate has just been appalling of late … I just don’t have the time.  But I shall persevere.

Anyhoo, thought I’d give some readers a heads up on something to read if they aren’t reading my blog.  At the moment the young ‘un is at an age where her attention span is growing everyday and so can be plonked in front of a Winnie the Pooh DVD for an hour or so while the parents get some well earned sit down time.

And so it was that Sebastian Barry’s World War 1 novel, called “A Long Long Way” came into my hands – its a harrowing story (still only half way through) about a young Irish soldier in the trenches of Flanders.  It switches between his experiences of war and his experiences of home and the ultimate dilemmas this causes him.  When he is home on leave, the 1916 Rising kicks off and we get somewhat of a perspective of what it might have been like from the British side (“the British” in this case being heavily populated with Irishmen who happened to answer John Redmond’s call to volunteer for WW1).  Some of the soldiers didn’t know what was going on – the reader is screaming at them going “It’s the Easter Rising silly !” but of course, the Easter Rising was an unknown event really until after it happened.  “Are you a German ?” asks the books’ protagonist, after one of the Irish Volunteers had been shot in front of him … amazing they way we now know what went on and think that to the ordinary people the British were the agressors …

It also has connotations for today’s political situation – we think of 1916 as being this big uprising and the foundations of the state and so on … but was the story on the ground different in 1916 ?  Was the uprising popular among the ordinary Dubliners ?  This novel gives a different perspective – how history books can change the fundamental thoughts of a nation …

I’m not finished it yet but I can’t read it quick enough.  Barry’s prose is amazing – the kid of writer you aspire to be.  I can imagine an aspiring author reading prose such as his and then giving up writing completely – “That’s exactly how I wanted to say things like that” sort of a deal …



1. His Girl Friday - May 23, 2008

Thanks, RM…I’m always looking out for these sort of books. I’m currently trying to finish up, “A History of Ulster” which, I’m actually at that time period/chapter (1916)

2. laurie - May 26, 2008

you got me interested.

3. Rambling Man - May 26, 2008

hey laurie ! how are you – good to hear from you

4. laurie - May 30, 2008

just back from vacation, rambling man. we went hiking up the north shore for six days.

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