Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Secret Scripture: A Novel by Sebastian…

The Secret Scripture: A Novel (original 2008; edition 2009)

by Sebastian Barry

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,9071193,594 (3.86)237
Title:The Secret Scripture: A Novel
Authors:Sebastian Barry
Info:Penguin (Non-Classics) (2009), Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Irish Lit, nook, Historical Fiction

Work details

The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry (2008)


Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 237 mentions

English (112)  Dutch (5)  French (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (119)
Showing 1-5 of 112 (next | show all)
Very clever, and very Irish, with some beautiful passages. The notion of a 99 year old Irish woman writing a secret memoir of her life after being institutionalized for 50 years is a little - hoary? - but if you are willing to "buy" that conceit, there's a lot to enjoy here.

"I am beginning to wonder strongly what is the nature of history. Is it only memory in decent sentences, and if so, how reliable is it? I would suggest, not very. And that therefore most truth and fact offered by these syntactical means is treacherous and unreliable. And yet I recognize that we live our lives, and even keep our sanity, by the lights of this treachery and this unreliability, just as we build our love of country on these paper worlds of misapprehension and untruth. Perhaps this is our nature, and perhaps unaccountably it is part of our glory as a creature, that we can build our best and most permanent buildings on foundations of utter dust." ( )
  yooperprof | Nov 3, 2014 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 112 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
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
First words
The world begins anew with every birth, my father used to say.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

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.

Haiku summary

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.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 6 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
118 avail.
289 wanted
4 pay6 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.86)
0.5 2
1 9
1.5 2
2 22
2.5 14
3 103
3.5 68
4 227
4.5 64
5 120


3 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 94,340,182 books! | Top bar: Always visible