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 ...
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.
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good research for presenting a believable story about a volunteer for Britain's efforts in WWI. A sad tale, but much of WWI was a sad waste of young men. Should spur fiction lovers to read some history.
May 11, 2009
Sherman was wrong. War isn't hell. It's worse.
Most of us only have vague memories of WWI from highschool world history class. Barry opens the readers eyes to the horror of that war and the impact it had on the men in the trenches. The reader will understand the saying that a million deaths is a statistic but one death is a tragedy. You probably won't want to read this right after eating, but if you want to know what your history class didn't teach you, you'll read this account to the end. Now, I know what my great great uncle really went through.
Publishers Weekly, 2005-01-31 Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori-that's the line from Horace (later famously quoted by war poet Wilfred Owen) that Irish poet, playwright and novelist Barry seeks to debunk in this grimly lyrical WWI novel. After four years of brutal trench fighting, Willie Dunne, once an eager soldier in the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, is still a "long long way" from home. Irish Home Rule seems a distant fantasy after the miserable Easter 1916 uprising in Dublin, which Willie, back in Ireland on his first furlough, was forced to help quell, firing on his own people; relations with his pro-British father, who abhors Willie's equivocal stance on Irish nationalism, have soured; his beloved Gretta has married another man; and most of his original Irish band of brothers have been slaughtered. The novel's dauntless realism and acute figurative language recall the finest chroniclers of war (Willie supposes that dead French soldiers "lay all about their afflicted homeland like beetroots rotting in the fields"). Still, Barry lingers too long on the particulars of the battlefield-the lice, the putrid muck-while failing to adequately develop the disasters Willie must face back in Ireland. As such, this somber novel-unlike Barry's moving previous book, Annie Dunne, whose eponymous narrator is Willie's younger sister-often lacks the nonsoldier human faces necessary to fully counterpoint the coarseness of military conflict, though its inevitably bleak conclusion is heartrending. Agent, Derek Johns at A.P Watt (U.K.). (Feb. 7) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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