Having already read Barry's "The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty" and finding it pretentious and verbose, I expected little. Wrong!
This is great stuff on many levels. I was flattened by the realistic description of the battle scenes, the mustard gas, the machine guns etc. but most of all by the courage and bravery of the poor mutts that endured the carnage. Of course, they vaguely thought they were fighting for king and country (Ireland?) - at least at the start - but disillusionment quickly set in. This gradual enlightment is subtlely sketched. A powerful anti-war manifesto with especial relevance to to-day.
Brilliantly read by John Cormack. The language is beautiful and poetic. Upon checking, I discovered that Sebastian Barry has authored several books of poetry...and it shows.
I'm Irish, so know that the historical details are accurate (and conveniently forgotten until very recently) although admittedly the plot itself is contrived to augment the story. No matter.
In summary, a beautiful book which repays some small latitude as it takes time to hit its stride. One of the unexpected bonuses that make life so rewarding.
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