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A Long Long Way by Sebastian Barry
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A Long Long Way (original 2005; edition 2005)

by Sebastian Barry

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8634610,340 (3.99)62
Member:sagustocox
Title:A Long Long Way
Authors:Sebastian Barry
Info:Penguin (Non-Classics) (2005), Paperback, 304 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

Work details

A Long, Long Way by Sebastian Barry (2005)

  1. 20
    All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque (starfishian)
  2. 00
    The Absolutist by John Boyne (SandSing7)
    SandSing7: Both poignant, moving takes on World War I by Irish writers.
  3. 00
    The Red and the Green by Iris Murdoch (cf66)
    cf66: Molto diverse narrativamente,si rifanno allo stesso momento storico
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Showing 1-5 of 45 (next | show all)
Review: A Long Long Way by Sebastian Barry.

I like the way the writing was done in a poetic style with beautiful organized sentences. Sebastian has a way of creating visual combinations from luxury to bleakness mixed together in a paragraph that sends a shuttering feeling through the reader’s body. The style is formatted throughout the story while being in the setting of the war and brutality between the Irish and English soldiers and the life of the main character, Willie Dunne. The story is told in a unique way and sadness flows through the pages but it’s worth the read.

The story is about a war time between the English and Irish nationalist. The intention was to fight the Germans but some of the biggest enemies where in their own country…The framework is surrounded around a trouble history of Ireland during a time when they were all Irish but divided between those who believed in Home Rule and those who didn’t. Willie Dunne seems to take the war in stride crawling threw trenches, surviving almost being suffocated with mustard gas, hunger, digging make-shift graves, losing comrades, walking over dead bodies, sharing trenches with dead enemies, and the terrible environment in no-man’s-land where many men were slaughtered.

Some of the characters were unforgettable: the priest who prayed over bodies of dead soldiers, even while under attack, and the officer who would not leave his place because his commander did not order him to and most of all Willie did not want to be a soldier. He wanted to follow in his father’s footstep and become a British Police Officer but his height hindered his dream. Willie was only eighteen years old when he joined the Military. His view and perception of the war were different then a lot of his comrades. He really didn’t understand what all the commotion was about. Willie just wanted to settled down and have a family but the tables got turned on him and he lost his country, he lost being a family man, he lost friends and most of all he lost himself in a battle of confusion, misunderstanding’s, in a no-man’s land……A very heartwarming story and artistically written….

( )
  Juan-banjo | May 31, 2016 |
Strongly recommend that you do not finish this audio book on public transport. And make sure you have tissues.
This is the story about a young Irish boy, Willie Dunne, who joins the first world war for really no reason other than he feels it's the right thing to do. There's some sort of promise by the British that it will lead to Home Rule, but it seems to be more of a great movement that he doesn't want to be left out of.
Willie is so naïve to start, that it doesn't ring true, but the total incomprehensibility of the war certainly does. He goes into actions that have no discernible purpose, fighting evil weapons like mustard gas that nobody is even aware of and coming up against the British hierarchy in the war that has no sympathy for the Irish, but does have a great deal of contempt.
Willie finds himself on the out with his countrymen because he has joined the army and also on the out with his father, a very traditional supporter of the British in Ireland, because he starts to ask questions. He ends up with no place to call home but the army and the mates he has made there.
Sebastian is a real poet of prose. The book is very nicely narrated by John Cormack. ( )
  quiBee | Jan 21, 2016 |
Slight disappointment despite some vivid description of the front-line in WW1 and an intriguing angle in the Irish ambivalent involvement in defence of the Empire. The central character Willie Dunn remains a bit of a blank screen ( common enough device in novels). I was hoping he'd get back to Ireland and the Troubles but {Spoiler alert!) he doesn't, and this reader was unmoved by his fate. The futility of the trenches is well-rendered but it's been so often and so well done before that we just feel numb and deja vu. But the real lack is Story, Plot, Development. Barry's "On canaan's Side" is much stronger, both in character and story.
For WW1 go to "All Quiet on the Western Front", Goodbye to All That", "Birdsong" and several more. ( )
  vguy | Dec 25, 2015 |
The time is 1914, and young Willie Dunne joins the Allied forces on the Western Front with the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. He wanted to join the Dublin police force just like his father, but Willie was unlucky enough to be five feet five inches tall. Too short to be a policeman, but not too short to fight for king and country. He was politically innocent, but followed his mates into the army because they felt it was a way to quicken the path to Home Rule. For Willie, it was a way of proving he was a man, and a way to earn his father's respect. He is granted home leave in April of 1916. When leave is over, as he is headed to transport back to the front, there is heavy gunfire in Dublin as the Easter Uprising begins. The officers want Willie and his fellow soldiers to fire at the rebels. Knowing that these could be friends and neighbors, Willie can't do it, and spends the rest of his time at the front trying to understand his feelings about home and his place at the front fighting with England. Above all, his love of family and his fellow soldiers shines through.

The Irish regiments were shunned by the folks at home, and not completely trusted by the English troops. The scenes of battle are vivid and disturbing, yet poignant and unforgettable. It is easy to become attached to Willie and many of the other characters. I liked this book and enjoyed Barry's prose.

Read June 2014 ( )
  NanaCC | Jul 26, 2015 |
In 1914, Willie Dunne, barely eighteen years old, leaves behind Dublin, his family, and the girl he plans to marry in order to enlist in the Allied forces and face the Germans on the Western Front. Once there, he encounters a horror of violence and gore he could not have imagined and sustains his spirit with only the words on the pages from home and the camaraderie of the mud-covered Irish boys who fight and die by his side. Dimly aware of the political tensions that have grown in Ireland in his absence, Willie returns on leave to find a world split and ravaged by forces closer to home. Despite the comfort he finds with his family, he knows he must rejoin his regiment and fight until the end. With grace and power, Sebastian Barry vividly renders Willie’s personal struggle as well as the overwhelming consequences of war. ( )
  MarkBeronte | Mar 4, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0143035096, Paperback)

Praised as a “master storyteller” (The Wall Street Journal) and hailed for his “flawless use of language” (Boston Herald), Irish author and playwright Sebastian Barry has created a powerful new novel about divided loyalties and the realities of war.

In 1914, Willie Dunne, barely eighteen years old, leaves behind Dublin, his family, and the girl he plans to marry in order to enlist in the Allied forces and face the Germans on the Western Front. Once there, he encounters a horror of violence and gore he could not have imagined and sustains his spirit with only the words on the pages from home and the camaraderie of the mud-covered Irish boys who fight and die by his side.  Dimly aware of the political tensions that have grown in Ireland in his absence, Willie returns on leave to find a world split and ravaged by forces closer to home. Despite the comfort he finds with his family, he knows he must rejoin his regiment and fight until the end. With grace and power, Sebastian Barry vividly renders Willie’s personal struggle as well as the overwhelming consequences of war.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:14 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Set at the onset of World War One, 'A Long Long Way' evokes the camaraderie and humour of Willie Dunne and his regiment, the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, but also the divided loyalties that many Irish soldiers felt. It also explores and dramatizes the events of the Easter Rising within Ireland.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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