A Long Long Way

by Sebastian Barry | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0571218008 Global Overview for this book
Registered by Fleebo on 9/1/2005
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7 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by Fleebo on Thursday, September 01, 2005
Shortlisted for THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE FOR FICTION 2005

Camaraderie and humour sustain the Royal Dublin Fusiliers as they are caught up in the events of the Easter Rising in Ireland.
"Unsurpassed in First World War fiction, A Long Long Way is a small masterpiece with an exhilarating resoluteness and authority." - Independent

This is the first time I have seen a paperback with a dust jacket.

Registered for the 2005 Booker Longlist Challenge. This is going to be a bookring for the following like-minded readers:

Alectoness
Viola7
star-light
puppymummy
xoddam
woosang
goodthinkingmax
Ada2

Journal Entry 2 by Fleebo on Monday, September 12, 2005
Beautiful. Hideous. Beautiful. It affected me greatly, and I shed some tears as I finished it just now. The bulk of the book is a too-vivid account of WWI trench warfare, which wiped out so many men and broke the spirits of the rest. How much worse would it have been for people like Willie, an Irishman whose country changed so profoundly behind him that he became their enemy, all unknowing, because he risked his life in the name of the English king? Some reward. Has there ever been a Booker nominee with a happy ending? Not in my experience...
When this book has an audio version, I hope that the reader has a melodious Dublin accent. I was imagining this all the way through, because of the wonderful lyrical style even when describing horrors. My only issue with it is the cursing, which I believe is modernised and not true to the period.
A title worthy of its Booker shortlisted status.

Sending to Alectoness this week.

Journal Entry 3 by Alectoness from Geelong, Victoria Australia on Monday, September 19, 2005
Thanks for the book and the postcard, Fleebo. I'm halfway through another book for this challenge at the moment - Hilary Mantel's Beyond Black - but I'll get to this one as soon as I can.

Journal Entry 4 by Alectoness from Geelong, Victoria Australia on Monday, September 26, 2005
I really didn't want this story to end, and like you Fleebo, I cried when it did. I'm enjoying reading these Booker nominees so far, though each for different reasons. I loved Ishiguru's Never Let Me Go for the concept and characters. I love this one for the plot, and for the writing itself.

It's such a powerful, personal account of WWI. As a high school student, I fell in love with the war poets, particularly Wilfred Owen. Like Owen's poetry, Barry's novel also exposes the "old Lie": Dulce et decorum est, pro patria mori. As I only know a little about the Easter Rising, the references to Irish politics were confusing at times - but that's only inspired me to find out more about the period.

I also thought that, as a reader, I spent too much time in the trenches and not enough back in Dublin with his family and Gretta. Those scenes (particularly those that occurred in his final furlough from the army) seemed rushed - which, when I think about it, was probably Willie's experience of his home leave as well.

Despite the horrors of his topic, Barry's writing style is just beautiful. The details of the world he has created are so keenly observed and carefully expressed, and one sentence just flows on to the next.

Reading the reviews for this on Amazon, it seems that one of Barry's earlier books Annie Dunne deals with the later life of Willie's younger sister. I'll definitely be looking out for that one.

Will mail this on to Viola7 before the weekend.

Journal Entry 5 by Viola7 from Brisbane, Queensland Australia on Wednesday, October 05, 2005
Received this from Alectoness today. Thank you very much to Alectoness who posted this all the way from NZ probably at great expense.

Judging by the other reviews it is well worth reading although war books aren't my usual type of reading. I did write a very long essay on the British aristocrats before and after World War 1 at uni and I am interested in Irish history as well so I am sure that this book will be very interesting.

Journal Entry 6 by Viola7 from Brisbane, Queensland Australia on Monday, October 17, 2005
I could only read half of this book although it is well-written of course, because it was just too harrowing and not my kind of book anyway. The misery distracted me from appreciating the writing or caring what happened to the characters. I have read other books about World War One which I liked better and I like Wilfred Owen's poetry too so I thought I would like it. This will be sent to Star-light soon.

Journal Entry 7 by star-light from Melbourne, Victoria Australia on Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Received today. Thanks Viola7 for posting and Fleebo for sharing. I will start reading this soon.

Journal Entry 8 by star-light from Melbourne, Victoria Australia on Monday, November 21, 2005
I remained dewy-eyed for much of the book instead of shedding tears in one go at the end. I was a bit put-off by the swearing and grotesque descriptions to begin with, but the power of the book soon won me over. Willie's transformation from naive 17-year-old who saw war as an exciting adventure to someone who understood the ugliness and stupidity of it all was heartbreaking for me. So sad to think that we are still fighting wars today.

I'm not familiar with the politics between Ireland and England at the time so I found that aspect a bit confusing. When I have time I'll see what information I can find on the information superhighway.

A difficult read, but well worth the effort.

I'm going to wait until I'm finished with Slow Man before I pass this on to puppymummy.

Updated 14 Dec 05: posted to puppymummy.

Journal Entry 9 by puppymummy from Melbourne, Victoria Australia on Saturday, December 17, 2005
Received safely. Looking forward to it!

Journal Entry 10 by puppymummy from Melbourne, Victoria Australia on Saturday, January 14, 2006
Wow. This is a harrowing, terrible book - and so far, the one out of all the Booker list that I would have liked to have won the prize. I haven't read before descriptions of the trenches, and it's not really what I had in my mind as to what happened during the wars, so I feel like I have learned something important.
Really brings back to you the waste of war in general.
Posted to xoddam, Jan 16th.

Journal Entry 11 by xoddam from Springwood, New South Wales Australia on Monday, January 23, 2006
Picked up this morning from the post office.

Journal Entry 12 by xoddam from Springwood, New South Wales Australia on Sunday, April 02, 2006
Well this was indeed a sad and wrenching novel. I have very little to say by way of a review; the writing is excellent if conversational and perhaps occasionally a bit too modern (wondering how many watts a boxer's brain is running at ... hmmm). Without giving too much away I'd like to say I was especially touched by the cruelty of the anonymous letter, and the circumstances of its writer's confession and apology.

I occasionally felt the urge to jump up and get dates and names of the great events of the war and of Irish politics, but of the latter I had no reference (wasn't near a computer either) and the three-year morass of death ploughed in and replanted upon death that was the Somme simply isn't covered in detail by any histories of the war as a whole. I know there are fat books on it -- but I'm in no way inclined to read a catalogue of a million or more lives wasted as futilely as each of those mentioned here.

I have PMed goodthinkingmax to arrange to pass the book on.

Journal Entry 13 by goodthinkingmax from Sydney, New South Wales Australia on Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Received this book from xoddam over a lovely lunch today at Tiffany's cafe, with fellow Booker longlist participant fleebo also present. This is the only Booker book in my possession at present so will begin it straight away.

Journal Entry 14 by goodthinkingmax from Sydney, New South Wales Australia on Monday, May 08, 2006
I found this to be one of the more accessible Booker novels. I did not become as emotionally involved as some of the other readers but read it with a sense of frustration at the futility of it all. Perhaps I have become a little immune to the horrific details of the trenches because of past reading and study. I do not know much about the Irish politics of the time and I enjoyed the Irish perspective and would like to know more. I have read many historical accounts of World War I but usually from the Australian/English point of view.

I will post this to Ada2 as soon as I have the details.

Journal Entry 15 by goodthinkingmax from Sydney, New South Wales Australia on Tuesday, May 30, 2006
An update. I still have this book as I have not had a reply to my PMs from Ada2 yet. Will keep trying.

Journal Entry 16 by goodthinkingmax from Sydney, New South Wales Australia on Monday, July 10, 2006
Returning to fleebo as I haven't heard from Ada2.

Journal Entry 17 by Fleebo on Tuesday, July 11, 2006
This bookring has come home! Thanks to everyone who took part. As for my own vote for the Booker winner, A Long Long Way would be in my top two or three, probably - although I haven't read them all yet.
Passed the book directly on to miss-jo.

Journal Entry 18 by goodthinkingmax at Sydney, New South Wales Australia on Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Whoops. I mentioned when I picked this up that I thought I'd read some Sebastian Barry. Turns out I've already journalled here. I'll blame the beer and find another home for this.

Journal Entry 19 by goodthinkingmax at Grok Cafe in Neutral Bay, New South Wales Australia on Friday, May 13, 2011

Released 8 yrs ago (5/13/2011 UTC) at Grok Cafe in Neutral Bay, New South Wales Australia

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

Having lunch at the Grok Cafe with some other Sydney Bookcrossers. Will release there.

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