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Publisher's Summary

A vital, tender, death-haunted work by one of Ireland's most important contemporary writers, Solar Bones is a celebration of the unexpected beauty of life and of language and our inescapable nearness to our last end.

It is All Souls Day, and the spirit of Marcus Conway sits at his kitchen table and remembers. In flowing, relentless prose, Conway recalls his life in rural Ireland: as a boy and man, father, husband, citizen. His ruminations move from childhood memories of his father's deftness with machines to his own work as a civil engineer, from transformations in the local economy to the tidal wave of global financial collapse. Conway's thoughts go still further, outward to the vast systems of time and history that hold us all. He stares down through the "vortex of his being", surveying all the linked circumstances that combined to bring him into this single moment, and he makes us feel, if only for an instant, all the terror and gratitude that existence inspires.

Solar Bones is a masterwork that builds its own style and language one broken line at a time; the result is a visionary accounting of the now.

©2016 Mike McCormack (P)2017 Recorded Books

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    102
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Super

First time I’ve been moved to write a review; I’ll keep it short. Simply superb book, that draws you in through an overlapping series of banal anecdote and conversation until you unwittingly find yourself wholly inhabiting the main character. A great achievement which is only added to by an exceptional narrative performance in this edition. Can’t recommend enough.

65 of 67 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Life

This is a special book which I think may have been a bit hampered by the "gimmick" of being a single sentence. It didn't need the gimmick, it stands on its own. The structure suited the book perfectly, I think the "press" about it just blew it out of proportion. (Though I listened, I also went through some parts in the print version.)

It's a beautiful story of a man reflecting on his simple, complex life. Aside from the structure of the novel, there was nothing particularly original about the story - it was just so deftly told.

Reading stream of consciousness writing is not my thing at all so I decided to listen to this one on audio. Part of me wishes I'd read it, but I'm not sure I would have made it through. Aside from that, this was a STELLAR audio. It's one of those books that was made for audio and the narrator was absolutely perfect.

I finished 36 hours ago and it's still kicking around in my head. As I think about it in relation to the other Booker short listed books (as much as I loved all of them) I do still feel a bit surprised this didn't make the shortlist.

A worthy book I never would have read had it not been for the Man Booker.

88 of 94 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Don't miss it

Would you listen to Solar Bones again? Why?

The writing and performance combine for a unique effect.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

This is a book to listen to in one sitting. If you have a one day outdoor project to do, like Fall or Spring cleanup with your earbuds buried under ear protection gear and a backpack blower and you are all alone ... you won't forget this book. Tim Reynolds brings Mike McCormack's book to life.

Any additional comments?

Perhaps, listen inside while you are drinking Writers Tears.

28 of 30 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Wayne
  • Matthews, NC
  • 11-27-18

More an epic poem than a novel

Irish author Mike McCormick wrote this entire book as a single sentence. Rather than a structured novel SOLAR BONES is a disorganized stream of thought by protagonist Marcus Conway. Yet, Conway, a civil engineer, does provide some structure doubtless due to his organized brain. The book is set in County Mayo in western Ireland and it covers most of Conway's life with a focus on the current period which finds him and his wife as empty nesters long enough to have become accustomed to it. Their daughter is an artist and their son is wandering Australia.

This book is obviously a labor of love for the author. It is a book that some will love and others will hate. The narration is marvelous.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant performance

A brilliant performance. I use audible while reading. This is one of the best audible performances I have listened to. It was especially helpful to my reading of this stylistically masterful novel.

34 of 38 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Stunning

This a most reverend and loving portrayal of west Mayo, pared back to reveal a people as flawed and interesting as you’d find anywhere but beatifically tempered and rendered submissive and happy by the beauty of their surroundings. I loved every word and the cadence, rhythm and delivery of the narrator was excellent. However, as a native of Westport, as mentioned in the book, the narrator’s accent was cringe worthy and wince inducing, bordering on the cod Irish. The prose kept the experience afloat for me but I wish I’d read the book for myself. Cliona.

15 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

could not get past first chapter

narrator is so monotone I gave up before first hour of the story. just too hard to listen too.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Lou
  • Oregon
  • 07-22-18

Couldn't get through the first hour

Maybe it would be okay in hard copy, but awful to listen to. Can't blame the narrator - it's the style of the writing. Returning for refund.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Google read

I’m a civil engineer the story is universal for engineers I’m from Texas. I think I should visit Ireland.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not

Sure what I think of this book. Did not hate it - but not sure what the point was/is

3 of 3 people found this review helpful