Wednesday, 14 December 2011

What is the sound of an eighty-nine-year-old heart breaking? It might not be much more than silence, and certainly a small slight sound.

Could you imagine having the skill to craft a sentence like that? And what a beginning to a novel. From those first few words, I was completely and utterly drawn in.

I'd been wondering for a few days about compiling a list of my 'books of the year.' More in the spirit of postponing writing the Christmas cards than because I think that anybody else cares ...

But I certainly wasn't expecting to discover my out-and-out best read of 2011 now in the last couple of weeks of the year.

I've only just finished On Canaan's Side and I'm still reeling from the breathtaking quality of Sebastian Barry's writing. And sad because, if my mum were still here, and she'd have been 89 this year, I'd surely be buying this for her Christmas present. She'd have read it more slowly - and it should be read slowly, but I couldn't help myself and now I'm feeling bereft that it's finished.

14 comments:

Mystica said...

Thank you for this heartfelt review.

mary said...

I could almost go back to the beginning and start it again, Mystica.

A Trifle Rushed said...

I heard him on the radio on Book Club, just listening to him speak made me want to read his novels. I'm buying this as a gift for myself, thanks for the recommendation..

rachel said...

I'm going to google it right now. There are very few books that I've felt sorry to finish; time for another, perhaps.

Darlene said...

Don't you just love it when a book does that to you? And then I wonder about the other books that will never cross my path but I would love every bit as much.

Making a note to add this one to my list, Mary.

Toffeeapple said...

I think I have to add that to my want list as it comes with such a great recommendation. Thank you Mary.

mary said...

Jude: He has a lovely voice, doesn't he? And somehow you can 'hear' his books as you're reading them.
Darlene: He's a very Irish writer ... and you're such a committed Anglophile!
Rachel and Toffeeapple: I love the way characters wander in and out of his different books.

gudrunstights said...

I'm reading this post at work and there is a copy on the shelf - I will run out and grab it before anyone else can!
And I would love to see the rest of your favorite 2011 books!

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

i must investigate . our library here has a lot of english books but not everything , obviously .
i wonder if audiobooks have it yet ... and , very importantly , if so , read by whom ...

mary said...

Coming soon, Anbolyn.

I looked it up out of curiosity, S&S, and it's read by an Irish singer whom I've never heard of. Not for me, anyway, as I get fidgety being read to.

Noelle said...

A book certain to reach out to many and thank you for sharing Mary! Our library (located on the mainland, sadly for us)has a nice selection and I will try there first! If not, I wonder if the piggy bank still have a few pences in...
Happy Holidays everyone!

mary said...

Noelle, now I'm intrigued ... I've visited your blog and worked out that you live on a private island somewhere in America. How romantic.
Although not very handy for the library, as you point out.

Cait O'Connor said...

So glad you loved it too. Barry is one of my top favourite writers.

mary said...

Wonderful, isn't he, Cait? I enjoyed this one nearly as much as A Long Long Way. But I still haven't caught up with Annie Dunne and Eneas McNulty.