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Description - A Long Long Way by Sebastian Barry

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 Military Police and 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.

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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

Book Reviews - A Long Long Way by Sebastian Barry

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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 include The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty (1998), Annie Dunne (2002), A Long Long Way (2005) and The Secret Scripture (2008). A Long Long Way, which was also shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Dublin International Impac Prize, was the Dublin: One City One Book choice for 2007. The Secret Scripture won several awards. It was also shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. He lives in Wicklow with his wife and three children.

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