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A Swift Pure Cry by Siobhan Dowd
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A Swift Pure Cry (original 2006; edition 2007)

by Siobhan Dowd

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4872437,902 (3.88)26
Coolbar, Ireland, is a village of secrets and Shell, caretaker to her younger brother and sister after the death of their mother and with the absence of their father, is not about to reveal hers until suspicion falls on the wrong person.
Member:leicsteenagefiction
Title:A Swift Pure Cry
Authors:Siobhan Dowd
Info:David Fickling Books (2007), Hardcover, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
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A Swift Pure Cry by Siobhán Dowd (2006)

  1. 00
    The Earth Hums in B Flat by Mari Strachan (FlossieT)
    FlossieT: Strong thematic connections - mystery, adolescence and growing up, family secrets - and both extremely well written.
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» See also 26 mentions

English (23)  Portuguese (1)  All languages (24)
Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
Odd little read. Good, but odd. ( )
  RobertaLea | May 15, 2020 |
This was the first book of Dowd's I read and it in a day or two.

It's heart-wrenching. It's such a difficult read but my god this woman makes some beautiful prose. I really felt for Shell, I just felt the raw pain of her life before me and I cried. I cried a lot.

But it was a great read.

Dowd's writing is super atmospheric and I can remember so many details from this novel. The scones Shell makes of an afternoon when she comes home from school and has nothing to do. The oppressiveness of her home environment and the vengeful anger of younger siblings who don't understand.

This book has stuck with me so much and while I feel like it deals with some really sensitive themes, Dowd does it in such a way that is true to the characters. It feels authentic, and that's what I loved. I didn't read this book to escape, it wasn't fantasy, it felt like real life, and Shell felt like a friend.

(tw: abuse, teen pregnancy, et. al) ( )
  lydia1879 | Feb 1, 2020 |
A beautiful, gut-wrenching story that tore at my heart. ( )
  HeatherLINC | Jul 4, 2016 |
This bleak novel for young adults may seem maudlin to some, but paints a thoughtful portrait of Ireland’s poverty, hope, and pride that many readers will find touching and engaging. The story follows Shell, a teenage girl whose mother has recently died and who lives with her younger siblings and neglectful father in the rural town of Coolbar. An outcast and uninterested in school, Shell finds solace in the friendship of a young new priest and an unsteady relationship with a boy in her class. She becomes pregnant and, without telling anyone, gives birth to a stillborn baby. Then another baby is found dead, and Shell is the main suspect. In the end her name is cleared, but she finds herself alone, looking ahead to an uncertain future. The story arc feels unbalanced, with a lot of exposition and little time dedicated to the climax and denouement, but the writing is poetic, bringing to mind the sweeping fields and rocky shores of Ireland. Shell is well-developed, her inner world carefully thought-out and endearing. The dialogue feels natural; the reader can almost hear the accents. There are some Briticisms that may require explanation, but they do not distract from the story. While there is some sexual content, it is not graphic. Themes of family, friendship, self-sufficiency and faith are woven throughout, lovingly portraying the balance of beauty and despair characteristic of Ireland. A Swift Pure Cry will appeal to teen and adult readers who don’t mind some sadness in their reading. Recommended. Grades 10+ ( )
  kottenbrookk | Nov 14, 2014 |
I grabbed this one up because the author of [b:A Monster Calls|8621462|A Monster Calls|Patrick Ness|http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51-pcxuY0yL._SL75_.jpg|13492114], a book that a number of people held in awe, said he had worked the idea from Siobhan Dowd, who had died before being able to do so herself.

While it's lovely and flits with very large heavinesses, I think I don't connect with an essentially Irish story. There are themes that are worldwide - the parent-hunger, faith and its lack, poverty, cattiness, teen pregnancy - but how it's dealt with in that kind of community with those reactions, I just don't feel it.

Jimmy and Trixie are the best siblings. Oh, those two, I do hug.

Dowd has only written 4 books. Try one out? ( )
  EhEh | Apr 3, 2013 |
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Coolbar, Ireland, is a village of secrets and Shell, caretaker to her younger brother and sister after the death of their mother and with the absence of their father, is not about to reveal hers until suspicion falls on the wrong person.

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Coolbar, Ireland, is a village of secrets and Shell, caretaker to her younger brother and sister after the death of their mother and with the absence of their father, is not about to reveal hers until suspicion falls on the wrong person.

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