John Egan is a misfit, 'a twelve-year old in the body of a grown man with the voice of a giant who insists on the ridiculous truth'. With an obsession for the "Guinness Book of Records" and faith in his ability to detect when adults are lying, John remains hopeful despite the unfortunate cards life deals him. During one year in John's life, from ...
John Egan is a misfit, 'a twelve-year old in the body of a grown man with the voice of a giant who insists on the ridiculous truth'. With an obsession for the "Guinness Book of Records" and faith in his ability to detect when adults are lying, John remains hopeful despite the unfortunate cards life deals him. During one year in John's life, from his voice breaking, through the breaking-up of his home life, to the near collapse of his sanity, we witness the gradual unsticking of John's mind, and the trouble that creates for him and his family. Set in early seventies Ireland, "Carry Me Down" is a deeply sympathetic take on one sad boyhood, told in gripping, and at times unsettling, prose. It plays out its tragic plot against a disarmingly familiar background and refuses to portray any of its lovingly drawn characters as easy heroes or villains.
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Publishers Weekly, 2006-01-16 A spare, piercing testimony to the bewilderment and resiliency of youth, Hyland's second novel (following How the Light Gets In) filters the adult world through the distressed lens of adolescence, which makes every change look like a test of survival. John Egan is an extremely tall 11-year-old boy living in the small town of Gorey, Ireland, with the moody triumvirate of his mother, father and grandmother. As he faces the trials of home and school life, John feels he has no place in the world, and his frustration fuels odd obsessions: with the Guinness Book of World Records, with physical human contact and with his "gift" for detecting lies. His parents, already sorting through their own uneasy relationship, puzzle over their only son with doctors and teachers, pushing John to a moment of crisis, which may prove his undoing. John's voice is singular and powerful throughout: "I wait anxiously for my turn, thinking that he'll soon discover me and know that I'm different. I've already decided that I'll tell him about my gift." By the subtle, satisfying d?nouement, one is rooting for John's place in the Guinness book and saving a space for him among the year's memorable characters. (Mar.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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