A Long Long Way

by Sebastian Barry | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0571218008 Global Overview for this book
Registered by jubby of Sydney, New South Wales Australia on 1/16/2012
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4 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by jubby from Sydney, New South Wales Australia on Monday, January 16, 2012
The back cover reads:

Barely eighteen years old, Willie Dunne leaves Dublin in 1914 to fight for the Allied cause, largely unaware of the growing political and religious tensions festering back home.

Told in Sebastian Barry's characteristically beautiful prose, A long long way evokes the camaraderie and humour of Willie and his regiment, the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, but also the cruelty and sadness of war, and the divided loyalties that many Irish soldiers felt.

Tracing their experiences through the course of the war, the narrative brilliantly explores and dramatises the events of the Easter Rising within Ireland, and how such a seminal political moment came to affect those boys off fighting for the King of England on foreign fields - the paralysing doubts and divisions it caused them.

It also charts Willie's coming of age, his leaving behind of his sweetheart Gretta, and the effect the war has on his relationship with his father, a member of the Dublin Metropolitan Police and a fervent loyalist. Running throughout is the question of how such young men came to be fighting in a war, and how they struggled with the events that raged around them.

Journal Entry 2 by jubby at Upper Hutt, Wellington Province New Zealand on Monday, January 16, 2012

Released 7 yrs ago (1/16/2012 UTC) at Upper Hutt, Wellington Province New Zealand

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This book was purchased several years ago, after being shortlisted for the 2005 Booker Prize.
After languishing on my bookshelf for several years I earmarked to read in 2011 for the Southern Cross Book Exchange (over on www.bookobsessed.com), only to misplace it and have it resurface again in December, 2011.

So, being on holidays and with a bit of time to spare, I resolved to read it at once, and I am so pleased that I did.

Reading a little in bed each night, I ended up reading well into the night once the story took hold.

Willie's predicament and place in history is not a new or unique one in current fiction, but Sabastian Barry has crafted a story that is not bogged down in detail or sentiment, but one that deftly takes the reader into the mind and situation of a well-constructed and historically correct young man of Ireland and his world of 1914-1918.

I have the silly habit of always flicking to the back of the book to see how many pages a book has, and was kicking myself when I did this with 'A long long way'. At a glance I saw the ending, but it was no less heartbreaking when I reached it in the early hours one morning.

A story that will stay with me for some time to come. Beautiful language, carefully constructed and obviously researched, and stunningly heartbreaking. And, it lost the Booker to John Banville's 'The sea'.

Posting to Sherlockfan in New Zealand (after seeing it on her wishlist) as part of the 2012 Southern Cross Book Exchange.

Journal Entry 3 by Sherlockfan at Upper Hutt, Wellington Province New Zealand on Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Thanks very much Jubby. I couldn't remember the name of the previous Barry story I read that made me put this on my wish list so checked carefully back and found that I had read "The Secret Scripture" back in 2009. That was a cracker jack book, actually recommended to me by my 50+ year old son as one of the best books he'd read and I certainly loved that one. I'm really looking forward to reading this and it has cunningly arrived just as I finished another book I've already had a start and just know it is going to be great.
I'm so pleased that you read it before sending it on to me. Watch this space for my comments. Thank you.

Journal Entry 4 by Sherlockfan at Upper Hutt, Wellington Province New Zealand on Wednesday, February 01, 2012
I have always eschewed books about wars, any wars, no matter how highly they were recommended. Now I know why I did. This was really well written and didn't conceal any of the horrors of the 1914-18 war nor the feeling on the powers that be sending off the young men as fodder to the guns of war. Those thousands of young men whose dead bodies were trampled on as a continuing stream of solders continued to do their duties is an appalling thought. It is a moving story and one the images from which will linger indelibly in my mind. With Irish forbears the feelings were more personal than they otherwise might have been. I kept thinking of my grandson William 20 and my French grandson Guillaume (same name in French) all the time I was reading about Willie Dunne. They were not pleasant thoughts.
Thanks Jubby. I think it an example of 'be careful what you wish for' but at this advanced age I can cope with it more easily that I could have. All things considered I am glad you gave me the opportunity to face something I should perhaps have faced years ago.

Journal Entry 5 by Sherlockfan at Upper Hutt, Wellington Province New Zealand on Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Released 7 yrs ago (2/8/2012 UTC) at Upper Hutt, Wellington Province New Zealand

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This book came to as it was on my Wish List and I'm now sending it on to someone who has it on her Wish List - my favourite way to pass on books.

Journal Entry 6 by tantan at Gympie, Queensland Australia on Friday, February 24, 2012
Received today with a bonus - thanks so much Sherlockfan!

Journal Entry 7 by tantan at Gympie, Queensland Australia on Sunday, August 05, 2012
This is the story of Willie Dunne who sets off to World War I as a private in the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. Barry doesn't gloss over the horrors of war, and evokes deep emotions in the reader through the telling of the events of Willie's life and his relationships with his compatriots. It is a heart-rending story, but I felt I may have appreciated it more if my knowledge of Irish history were less patchy.

***

I am sending this to crimson-tide to fulfill a wish.

Journal Entry 8 by tantan at Gympie, Queensland Australia on Monday, August 06, 2012

Released 6 yrs ago (8/6/2012 UTC) at Gympie, Queensland Australia

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Heading off to crimson-tide.

Journal Entry 9 by wingcrimson-tidewing at Balingup, Western Australia Australia on Thursday, August 16, 2012
A lovely wishlist RABCK from tantan - thanks very much.

I know not everyone loves Sebastian Barry, but I really enjoyed "The Secret Scripture" and am looking forward to this one too.

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