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Description - A Long Long Way by Sebastian Barry

One of the most vivid and realised characters of recent fiction, Willie Dunne is the innocent hero of Sebastian Barry's highly acclaimed novel. Leaving Dublin to fight for the Allied cause as a member of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, he finds himself caught between the war playing out on foreign fields and that festering at home, waiting to erupt with the Easter Rising. Profoundly moving, intimate and epic, "A Long Long Way" charts and evokes a terrible coming of age, one too often written out of history.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780571218011
ISBN-10: 0571218016
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 126mm x 19mm)
Pages: 304
Imprint: Faber & Faber
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Publish Date: 6-Apr-2006
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Book Review: Long Long Way by Sebastian Barry - Reviewed by (11 Aug 2012)

A Long Long Way is the 8th novel by Irish author Sebastian Barry. It tells the story of Willie Dunne, a young Dublin man who joins the British Army as a Private in the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. He leaves his much loved, widowed father, James and three younger sisters, as well as Gretta, the girl he wants to marry, to fight the Germans in Belgium during the First World War During his time in the army, he faces much and learns a lot about himself and the world. He witness the death of comrades at the hands of the Germans, sees many casualties end up in unmarked graves and witnesses an execution after court martial. He describes the horrors of mustard gas, the nuisance of lice and ringworm, the misery of homesickness, the distress of hunger and cold as well as the camaraderie and love for his fellow soldiers, the joy of letters and parcels from home, reading, dancing, plays and singing. Willie encounters firsthand the discrimination of British Officers against Irish enlisted men. The myriad of thoughts and feelings that pass through a man’s mind during the heat of battle are expressed in language appropriate for Willie’s education and background, giving it a most authentic feel. As Willie begins to wonder about his place in the war, his doubts affect the relationship with James. Barry touches on some provocative topics: rape and other atrocities committed during wartime and conscientious objection. Using highly evocative prose, Barry slowly builds a wonderfully moving story of depth and emotion enough to bring me to tears.

Author Biography - Sebastian Barry

Sebastian Barry was born in Dublin in 1955. His novels and plays have won the Costa Book of the Year award, the Kerry Group Irish Fiction Prize, the Irish Book Awards Novel of the Year, the Independent Booksellers Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. A Long Long Way (2005) and the top ten bestseller The Secret Scripture (2008) were shortlisted for the MAN Booker Prize. He lives in County Wicklow with his wife and three children.

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