HomeGroupsTalkExploreZeitgeist
Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

The Stray Sod Country

by Patrick McCabe

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5112448,184 (3)8
It is 1958, and as Laika, the Sputnik dog is launched into space, Golly Murray, the Cullymore barber's wife, finds herself oddly obsessing about the canine cosmonaut. Meanwhile, Fonsey 'Teddy' O'Neill, is returning, like the prodigal son, from overseas, with brylcream in his hair, and a Cuban-heeled swagger to his step, having experienced his coming-of-age in Butlin's, Skegness. Father Augustus Hand is working on a bold new theatrical production for Easter, which he, for one, knows will put Cullymore on the map. And, as the Manchester United football team prepare to take off from Munich airport, James A Reilly sits in his hovel by the lake outside town, with his pet fox and his father's gun, feeling the weight of an insidious and inscrutable presence pressing down upon him. From the closed terraces and back lanes of rural Ireland to the information highway and global separations of our own time, The Stray Sod Country is at once an homage to what we think we may have lost and a chilling reminder that the past has never really passed. With echoes of Peyton Place, and Fellinni's Amarcord, and with a sinister, diabolical narrator at its heart, this is at once a story of a small town - with its secrets, fears, friendships and betrayals - and a sweeping, grand guignol of theatrical extravagance from one of the finest writers of his generation.… (more)
None
Loading...

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

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 8 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
In this book, McCabe captures a wide variety of crazy, each represented by a different member of a small Irish town. As in real life, sometimes the madness is normal and well-concealed, other times it's overt, and the reader is forced to ponder which is more dangerous—the devil that's known, or that that lurks beneath the surface.

Although written with McCabe's typical unblinking stare and gritty insight, the book isn't the easiest read. Characters so deeply flawed are hard to love, and the meandering plot - which mimics the wont of the insane - doesn't bring one easily back to the book once set down. A worthwhile read, but altogether unenjoyable (which perhaps is part of the story's experience). ( )
  JolieB | Jul 22, 2011 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received and started reading The Stray Sod Country in mid-November. But I had difficulty making it much past the first tenth of the novel, being largely unrewarded by McCabe’s portraits of 1950’s Irish village life—featuring a seemingly endless cast of characters with little to no, well, point seeming to arise. This spring break, I finally mustered enough sheer will to barrel through the book’s rambling fits and starts (or maybe it was just ecstatic momentum from conquering the behemoth of Mists of Avalon), out of a sense of obligation. So was there a point?

The titular ‘Stray Sod Country’ of McCabe’s novel is explained as a piece of Irish folklore: a place of mind that alienates one from seeing the familiar as familiar again, or more shortly--“cosmic loneliness”… or what we’d probably today call existential angst. Because the residents of Cullymore, Ireland are being observed by the narrative lens of none other than the ‘Fetch’ himself, the Devil who manipulates and feeds the fears and doubts of the broadly-drawn villagers to tragic ends, while at the same time proclaiming he does naught but observe their own destructive tendencies. Such contradictory and confounding muddle characterizes Stray Sod Country. While McCabe isn’t totally untalented in creating weight within the tortured psyches of his characters, he overplays their single-minded neuroses over the course of the novel, leaving them no more than caricatures.

McCabe may be trying to say something about the Cold War or village life, or the consuming power of ignored irrationality in the age of reason, or the crushing weight of religion… but it’s impossible for me to tell within this doddering mess. But given if how I felt wadding as the book seemed to go and on eternally, I definitely felt maybe some of the characters should have worried less of going to the Fetch and more about hell on Earth. ( )
  kaionvin | Apr 3, 2011 |
I won this book on Goodreads.com. Overall, I'd say that I liked the book. The writing was a little hard to follow at times, very choppy, but the story itself was interesting. I especially liked the evolving role of the narrator. I wasn't expecting that at all. ( )
  Anietzerck | Mar 2, 2011 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
i just couldn't get into this. i don't know if it was the lack of quotations (yea, i'm one of those folks that needs it spelled out when characters are talking--the dashes weren't cutting it for me) or the dark tone (too many bad things happened to animals for my taste) but i couldn't finish the book. ( )
  pru-lennon | Feb 19, 2011 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I'm having a good deal of trouble giving voice to just what my issues with this one were. It wasn't badly written by any means, with no major stylistic issues (a few minor quirks that made me grind my teeth, like the lack of quotation marks and the italicization of many, but not all, proper nouns) -- a bit choppy in parts, perhaps, but no cardinal sins to drive me away.

I think, in the end, my issue was that for a good 80 to 90 percent of the book I just didn't care about the characters. Which is a problem, as for probably the first two thirds of the book new characters are constantly being introduced; it's a book with a large cast, and I'll admit that with every new character I was left hoping that maybe this one would be one I'd care about and left disappointed that it wasn't.

(Perhaps that was the problem? That the continual increase in cast size meant that none of the other characters had a chance to develop enough.)

Regardless of that, I mention that I didn't really care about it for the first 80-90%, the last 30-60 pages is really all conclusion and denouement, all wrapping up the plot threads, jumping around in time as necessary. It has a few problems, in that some of the few points of suspense and tension from earlier in the book get spoiled before we see the resolution but, being one of the few points where I cared at all about what was happening, I'm willing to forgive those.

In the end? Maybe not a bad book. Maybe not a good book. Definitely not the book for me. ( )
  g026r | Feb 10, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 12 (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.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

It is 1958, and as Laika, the Sputnik dog is launched into space, Golly Murray, the Cullymore barber's wife, finds herself oddly obsessing about the canine cosmonaut. Meanwhile, Fonsey 'Teddy' O'Neill, is returning, like the prodigal son, from overseas, with brylcream in his hair, and a Cuban-heeled swagger to his step, having experienced his coming-of-age in Butlin's, Skegness. Father Augustus Hand is working on a bold new theatrical production for Easter, which he, for one, knows will put Cullymore on the map. And, as the Manchester United football team prepare to take off from Munich airport, James A Reilly sits in his hovel by the lake outside town, with his pet fox and his father's gun, feeling the weight of an insidious and inscrutable presence pressing down upon him. From the closed terraces and back lanes of rural Ireland to the information highway and global separations of our own time, The Stray Sod Country is at once an homage to what we think we may have lost and a chilling reminder that the past has never really passed. With echoes of Peyton Place, and Fellinni's Amarcord, and with a sinister, diabolical narrator at its heart, this is at once a story of a small town - with its secrets, fears, friendships and betrayals - and a sweeping, grand guignol of theatrical extravagance from one of the finest writers of his generation.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

LibraryThing Early Reviewers Alum

Patrick McCabe's book The Stray Sod Country was available from LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

Popular covers

Quick Links

Rating

Average: (3)
0.5
1 1
1.5 1
2 2
2.5 1
3 3
3.5 3
4 3
4.5 1
5

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 180,347,561 books! | Top bar: Always visible