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Publisher's Summary

In Ireland, a man of reason is drawn to a true mystery older than the Pyramids and Stonehenge in this enthralling story about ethereal secrets by New York Times best-selling author Colm Tóibín.

During the winter solstice, on the shortest day and longest night of the year, the ancient burial chamber at Newgrange is empowered. Its mystifying source is a haunting tale told by locals.

Professor O’Kelly believes an archaeologist’s job is to make known only what can be proved. He is undeterred by ghost stories, idle speculation, and caution. Much to the chagrin of the living souls in County Meath. As well as those entombed in the sacred darkness of Newgrange itself. They’re determined to protect the secret of the light, guarded for more than 5,000 years. And they know O’Kelly is coming for it.

©2020 Colm Tóibín (P)2020 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

What listeners say about The Shortest Day

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Let It Percolate

Sometimes I need to sit with a work of art before I can speak about it. This is such a time.

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A lovely Christmas ghost story

I love this little story and the narator! I just looked it up.. it is a real place! And this really happens every winter!

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A beautiful story that goes nowhere

So many loose ends left untied. So many avenues left unexplored. So many parallels left unconnected.

Too many. Was left wholly unsatisfied, resolved or even really edified. It was rich yet unrolling and therefore unsatisfying.

The writer should put this through one more edit and tie a few things up.

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Shortest Day , and book

just when I started getting into the story, it ended. bummer. needs fleshing out or some more good Irish ghosts.

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Mystical realism

Science and shamanism, darkness and slivers of light swirl in this story on the winter solstice in a place beyond and squarely time.

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Fun for the solstice.

I enjoy Colm Toibin’s writing.
The mystery of Irish burial grounds is great fun at this time of year.

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Very satisfying!

I loved this story! I read it first, then listened to it and found new delights the second time. It’s the perfect blend of sly wit and mysticism. Colm Toibin is a master. The narration is first rate too.

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Not too much depth, but some enchanting moments

I like the author and at times thought this story was very well written. Much of the book doesn't stand out, though. I enjoyed the scenes involving just the ghosts the most. They seemed imaginative, which the professor and his scenes were decidedly not. It feels like a few tropes from other authors (Neil Gaiman, mainly) thrown in. I wasn't bothered by it's brevity or think it was underdeveloped. Mainly feel like what held it back is none of the main characters being too likable or distinct enough. The reader was terrific.

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Some things should remain a Mystery!

I loved this story of the ancient voices of those buried at Newgrange, and the archaeologist who has spent a lifetime studying it. While I was glad that the ancients were able to share this great mystery of the shortest day without losing its beneficent, life-giving power, I finished the story worried about what the world would do to this most ancient and sacred place when it learned of the mystery of the shortest day.

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A Professor & Spirits of an Ancient Burial Ground

I had never read this author and the premise was intriguing. The locals know a secret about an ancient burial site filled with spirits are aren't necessarily interested in the new world around them. A few are and don't want modern man knowing their secret. Written beautifully and gradually building up to a climax, the end was a complete let down. We never find out what the impact of someone else knowing the secret is. The story just stops and doesn't finish. Disappointing since it started out so well. Nice authentic narration for the audiobook.

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  • cov 45
  • 05-11-21

Excellent

Thoroughly enjoyed this story wanted it to continue . Had heard of the winter solstice light

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  • Happy Maggie
  • 03-06-21

Intriguing

I am not a scifi fan but this story keeps you guessing to the end. it is well read and more imaginative than scifi.

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  • FictionFan
  • 12-27-20

Enjoyable short story...

Archaeologist Professor O’Kelly has been excavating the ancient burial chamber at Newgrange for some time. This year he intends to spend the few days before Christmas there – a time when his students and other staff will be on holiday, so that he can have the luxury of being alone. But the locals are unhappy about the idea of anyone being in the chamber at this time – winter solstice is coming and there are legends…

Based on the real story of Professor O’Kelly’s discoveries at the site in the late ‘60s and ‘70s, Toibin has added in an element of folklore and touches of the supernatural, and the result is an entertaining short story which looks at the importance of story and legend in the Irish tradition. It’s slight but beautifully written, and the narration by Tim Gerard Reynolds is excellent – he has a delightfully soothing voice, distinctively Irish and perfect for this tale. An enjoyably relaxing way to spend an hour.