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The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry

The Secret Scripture (2008)

by Sebastian Barry

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Showing 1-5 of 111 (next | show all)
Although I would admit the writing was quite wonderful, I found the first two thirds of this book rather tedious if not boring. It was only in the last third of the book that I felt truly absorbed in the characters and the story. I don't think I could really recommend this book as I know most readers do not have the patience to wade through the bulk of this book to get to the "good" part. ( )
  bibliophileofalls | Sep 18, 2014 |
The ending was a bit of a let down like others have mentioned. The words though, the style... they roll of your tongue and envelop you with the Irish lilt. For me, it is like going home even though I have never been there. ( )
  ChewDigest | Sep 12, 2014 |
The ending was a bit of a let down like others have mentioned. The words though, the style... they roll of your tongue and envelop you with the Irish lilt. For me, it is like going home even though I have never been there. ( )
  ChewDigest | Sep 12, 2014 |
Een niet heel makkelijk lezend boek over een 100-jarige Ierse vrouw en een verpleeghuisarts die uiteindelijk haar zoon blijkt te zijn (spoiler). Mooi, diepgravend. Centrale vraag: wat is de waarheid, wat is de waarde van herinneringen, wat klopt en wat niet? ( )
  elsmvst | Mar 21, 2014 |
This tale is told in alternating voices. On the one hand, we get Roseanne's writing her story of her past in a small Irish town called Sligo during the 1930s. On the other, we have Dr. Grene writing a diary of both his situation with the hospital as well as about his wife who recently died. So while Roseanne is writing as a form of closure, Dr. Grene is writing as a process of mourning. What's more, both have two different issues to confront. Roseanne has not only her past but also in relation to her life at the hospital. Dr. Grene needs to mourn not only his wife, but also the dissolution of his hospital and the dispersion of all those he has cared for over the years - and most particularly for Roseanne who certainly hasn't long to live. So while these two narratives take place in parallel, they also have things that make them intertwine.

Vivid characters and an interesting story line which uses a carefully structured mechanic of two first-person accounts to allow us both inside the characters as well as to observe the outside with them. What's more, within these two stories is a connection which Barry leads up to and reveals all along the way, like a mystery novel. This makes "The Secret Scripture" all the more readable and fascinating. I cannot find any fault with this book with the tiny exception of perhaps it was a touch too smooth. ( )
  Davida.Chazan | Sep 7, 2013 |
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The greatest imperfection is in out inward sight that is to be ghosts unto our own eyes.
--Sir Thomas Browne Christian Morals

Of the numbers who study or at least read history, how few derive any advantage from their labours! . . . Besides there is much uncertainty even in the best authenticated ancient and modern histories; and that love of truth, which in some minds is innate and immutable, necessarily leads to a love of secret memoirs and private anecdotes.
--Maria Edgeworth, Preface to Castle Rackrent
For Margaret Synge
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The world begins anew with every birth, my father used to say.
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Book description
Nearing her one-hundredth birthday, Roseanne McNulty faces an uncertain future, as the Roscommon Regional Mental hospital where she's spent the best part of her adult life prepares for closure. Over the weeks leading up to this upheaval, she talks often with her psychiatrist Dr. Grene, and their relationship intensifies and complicates. Told through their respective journals, the story that emerges is at once shocking and deeply beautiful. Refracted through the haze of memory and retelling, Roseanne's story becomes an alternative, secret history of Ireland's changing character and the story of a life blighted by terrible mistreatment and ignorance, and yet marked still by love and passion and hope.

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0143115693, Paperback)

An epic story of family, love, and unavoidable tragedy from the two-time Man Booker Prize finalist

Sebastian Barry 's novels have been hugely admired by readers and critics, and in 2005 his novel A Long Long Way was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. In The Secret Scripture, Barry revisits County Sligo, Ireland, the setting for his previous three books, to tell the unforgettable story of Roseanne McNulty. Once one of the most beguiling women in Sligo, she is now a resident of Roscommon Regional Mental Hospital and nearing her hundredth year. Set against an Ireland besieged by conflict, The Secret Scripture is an engrossing tale of one woman's life, and a vivid reminder of the stranglehold that the Catholic church had on individuals throughout much of the twentieth century.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:49:51 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

This story pits two contradictory narratives against each other in an attempt to solve the mystery of a 100-year-old mental patient.

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