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Description - The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty by Sebastian Barry

Following the end of the First World War, Eneas McNulty joins the British-led Royal Irish Constabulary. With all those around him becoming soldiers of a different kind, however, it proves to be the defining decision of his life when, having witnessed the murder of a fellow RIC policeman, he is wrongly accused of identifying the executioners. With a sentence of death passed over him he is forced to flee Sligo, his friends, family and beloved girl, Viv. What follows is the story of this flight, his subsequent wanderings, and the haunting pull of home that always afflicts him. Tender, witty, troubling and tragic, The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty tells the secret history of a lost man.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780571230143
ISBN-10: 0571230148
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 127mm x 20mm)
Pages: 320
Imprint: Faber & Faber
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Publish Date: 1-Jun-2006
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Book Reviews - The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty by Sebastian Barry

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Book Review: Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty by Sebastian Barry - Reviewed by (18 Sep 2012)

The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty is the sixth novel by Irish author Sebastian Barry and involves several characters of Barry’s later novel, The Secret Scripture, and his play, Our Lady of Sligo. Eneas McNulty is born in Sligo at the turn of the century, a gentle soul, naïve, guileless, who finds himself, not, as he had always believed, popular with lots of friends, but instead shunned, an outcast in his own town, his own country. At sixteen he joins the British Merchant Navy for the cause of France in World War One. This alignment with Britain gains him the disapproval of the fledgling republican movement in Ireland. He unwittingly compounds this by joining the Royal Irish Constabulary when he cannot find any other work. Suspected of betraying the men who murder his Sergeant to the Reprisal Man, he finds himself on a blacklist, an Enemy of the Irish People; his only chance to redeem himself is to murder the Reprisal Man, something he refuses to do. Driven from his town and his country, he finds himself fishing in the North Sea and digging in Africa, but always longing to return to Sligo. Barry’s prose is lyrical and moving: “Isn’t she dour too, a deal of the time, dour as a fallen loaf in a cold oven, a disappointed loaf?” “…..Eneas relaxes because she talks just the same as himself, with grey pebbles of the Sligo slingshot talk.” “…any person alive in the world , any person putting a shoulder against a life, no matter how completely failing to do the smallest good thing, is a class of hero.” Barry’s story leads the reader to conclude that the promise of freedom for an oppressed country does not tolerate indecision or errors of judgement: “It is strange that though many years separate the freedom of their homelands, Eneas and Harcourt are scraps of people both, blown of the road of life by history’s hungry breezes.” There is plenty of heartbreak in this tale, but some small crumbs of happiness as well. Eneas is a character to love and feel for: even in his own outcast state, he feels for others, like the shipload of exiled German Jews. There may not be much to laugh about, and yet Barry manages some marvellous dialogue that almost has a tongue-in-cheek feel: Eneas’s conversations with Jonno Lynch are a good example. Eneas’s story intersects with that of Roseanne Clear (The Secret Scripture) but the stories do not match up exactly, perhaps understandable as The Secret Scripture relies on the memory of a hundred-year-old woman. I came to this book after reading The Secret Scripture, which was a wonderful read. I can honestly say that I am not disappointed in this beautifully told story and I will be seeking out more works by Sebastian Barry.

Author Biography - Sebastian Barry

Sebastian Barry was born in Dublin in 1955. His plays include The Steward of Christendom and The Pride of Parnell Street and his novels include The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty, Annie Dunne, A Long Long Way and The Secret Scripture. A Long Long Way was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Dublin International Impac Prize, and was the Dublin: One City One Book for 2007. The Secret Scripture won the Costa Book of the Year award, the Irish Book Awards Best Novel, the Independent Booksellers Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. He lives in Wicklow with his wife and three children.

Books By Sebastian Barry

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry
Paperback, September 2017
Temporary Gentleman by Sebastian Barry
Paperback, April 2015
Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry
Paperback, March 2015
On Canaan's Side by Sebastian Barry
Paperback, April 2012