Wednesday, 3 December 2008

A Long Long Way by Sebastian Barry

DATE PUBLISHED: 2005 DATE READ: December 2008 NOTES: Willie Dunne is an innocent young Dubliner who sets off for the excitement of war in Flanders in 1914. He leaves behind a loving family and a girl he hopes one day to marry. But by 1918 everything in his life has changed. The war has progressed and become more and more bloody and futile and Willie becomes confused and ambivalent about his own patriotism and about Irish nationalist aspirations. He seems to lose everything that he knows and loves. This is a heart-wrenching read. Sebastian Barry creates a haunting world of smells, filth, fear and humour. The Irish dimension to the story make it particularly interesting as this is not an aspect of WWI that is much dwelt on in fiction. This book will surely rank alongside the very best of World War One literature. It is beautifully written and many of the characters and scenes remained with me long after I finished reading. A Long Long Way well deserved to be on the shortlist for the Man Booker Prize in 2005.

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