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Old God's Time: Longlisted for the Booker…
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Old God's Time: Longlisted for the Booker Prize 2023 (edition 2024)

by Sebastian Barry (Author)

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4303358,572 (3.97)72
"Recently retired policeman Tom Kettle is settling into the quiet of his new home, a lean-to annexed to a Victorian castle overlooking the Irish Sea. For months he has barely seen a soul, catching only glimpses of his eccentric landlord and a nervous young mother who has moved in next door. Occasionally, fond memories return, of his family, his beloved wife June and their two children, Winnie and Joe. But when two former colleagues turn up at his door with questions about a decades-old case, one which Tom never quite came to terms with, he finds himself pulled into the darkest currents of his past"--… (more)
Member:ElizaBev
Title:Old God's Time: Longlisted for the Booker Prize 2023
Authors:Sebastian Barry (Author)
Info:Faber & Faber (2024), Edition: Main, 272 pages
Collections:Your library
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Old God's Time by Sebastian Barry

  1. 00
    Milkman by Anna Burns (BillPilgrim)
    BillPilgrim: Another Irish novel with a stream of consciousness narrative. Listen to the audiobook.
  2. 00
    When All Is Said by Anne Griffin (Iudita)
    Iudita: Both books are slow, thoughtful stories based on the reminiscences of an old man. Both are also beautifully written.
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» See also 72 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
We're in Dublin in the 1990s, meeting the widowed and recently retired Tom Kettle, who had been a police detective, I immediately engaged with this novel, which lilted along in a strong Irish accent, and which I'd have happily read with no plot at all, for the sake of accompanying Tom Kettle through his retirement. But there is a plot. And it's not straightforward. It loops back and forth through memory, and I really don't want to give anything away except to say it does involve the sad, bad old story of sexual abuse of children by Catholic clergy. Kettle is an unreliable narrator. Facts haze in and out, can be deliberately confusing. How difficult it is to tell a story rooted in a barely-remembered or understood past. But there is love, enduring love, underlying everything. A book to savour, despite the unappetising events that underpin it. ( )
1 vote Margaret09 | Apr 15, 2024 |
Thickly written ghost story.

"People endured horrors, and then they couldn't talk about them. The real stories of the world were bedded in silence." ( )
  lelandleslie | Feb 24, 2024 |
It took the first 100 pages for me to fully get into this book, but so worth it. Tom Kettle is a retired policeman living near the Irish Sea in a rather remote apartment. Two younger policemen come to visit and references are made to the "priests" - an unpleasant memory but the reader is not sure why.

A colleague of Tom's comes later and it seems he has been accused by a priest of killing another priest who is now accused of child molestation. Did Tom kill the first priest as an act of revenge due to the fact that the first priest had molested his wife June. Tom's childhood was terrible as an orphan living in an orphanage run by priests and nuns He joined the Army and became a sharpshooter in Malaysa which enabled him to join the police force.

The book is beautifully written (with some strange similes at times), and the ending brought tears. Both of his children, Joe and Winnie, have died terrible deaths, his wife is gone, and how much of his memories are correct. This is truly a case of an unreliable narrator.

Tom's entire life has been affected by tragedy, but he has survived. What memories are real, what are dreams. Ending brought tears. ( )
  maryreinert | Feb 23, 2024 |
Beautifully lyrical writing of a painfully wrought story about the lasting damage of child abuse that never resolves, even into adulthood. The narration often drifts into stream of consciousness, making it a bit difficult to follow. The pain of the characters is raw and heart-wrenching. Beautifully read by Stephen Hogan. ( )
  elifra | Feb 22, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
This sublime study of love, trauma, memory and loss explores the legacy of childhood abuse in Ireland’s Catholic institutions....All of this could make a good story in another writer’s hands; what elevates this novel is Barry’s sustained, ventriloquial, impressionistic evocation of a unique, living consciousness, which at times takes flight into immersive transports of thought, feeling and memory in which nothing is fixed beyond the simple lodestar of Tom’s love for June. In terms of plot this serves a vital purpose, keeping the ground under our feet unsteady; on the level of emotion, it leads to an identification with Tom so close as to feel utterly, overwhelmingly true. The ending is a tour de force of transcendent power and complexity. I don’t expect to read anything as moving for many years.
 

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Barry, Sebastianprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hogan, StephenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"Recently retired policeman Tom Kettle is settling into the quiet of his new home, a lean-to annexed to a Victorian castle overlooking the Irish Sea. For months he has barely seen a soul, catching only glimpses of his eccentric landlord and a nervous young mother who has moved in next door. Occasionally, fond memories return, of his family, his beloved wife June and their two children, Winnie and Joe. But when two former colleagues turn up at his door with questions about a decades-old case, one which Tom never quite came to terms with, he finds himself pulled into the darkest currents of his past"--

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Recently retired policeman Tom Kettle is settling into the quiet of his new home, a lean-to annexed to a Victorian castle overlooking the Irish Sea. For months he has barely seen a soul, catching only glimpses of his eccentric landlord and a nervous young mother who has moved in next door. Occasionally, fond memories return, of his family, his beloved wife June and their two children, Winnie and Joe.

But when two former colleagues turn up at his door with questions about a decades-old case, one which Tom never quite came to terms with, he finds himself pulled into the darkest currents of his past.

A beautiful, haunting novel, in which nothing is quite as it seems, Old God's Time is about what we live through, what we live with, and what may survive of us.
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