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Publisher's Summary

J. G. Farrell was born in England and moved to Ireland around the age of 12. Often mistaken for an Irish-born writer, this is mainly because Troubles, the first book of his Empire Trilogy (also including The Siege of Krishnapur and The Singapore Grip) takes a comical yet political and personal look at the realities of the Irish fight for independence against the might of the British Empire.

A listener follows Brendan Archer, a major in the British Army, to County Wicklow in Ireland, where he is supposed to meet the woman he thinks he will marry. When his plans do not turn out quite as he imagined, he decides to stay on at The Majestic - a crumbling coastal hotel - which holds a strange charm and many eccentric, often amusing, inhabitants.

Made into a film for television in 1988, Troubles is an involving and interesting listen, both touching and enthralling.

©1970 CSA Word (P)2008 CSA Word

Critic Reviews

"It's humorously and, above all, intelligently read by the peerless Sean Barrett. I'm so grateful to have it... if you've never read Farrell, you're in for a rare treat." ( The Guardian)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • David
  • Seattle, WA, United States
  • 09-09-11

A nearly perfect short, lyrical book

I like all three novels in Farrell's trilogy, but this one, like Woolf's To the Lighthouse, has a perfect structure and is exquisitely written. It is performed admirably.
The story will not be to everyone's liking. It is funny and melancholy at the same time, like other Farrell novels.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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VERY entertaining

I really enjoyed this book .Quite interesting, the way the gradual demise of the characters, house and country intertwined. It was actually very funny in many places. Definitely worth reading. Booker Prize Winner!

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    5 out of 5 stars

A classic of irony

A booker prize winner with another brilliant satire on the British Empire. Often hilarious but also very moving once you understand how clever the book is.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Linda
  • Quorrobolong Australia
  • 10-05-11

okay but jumpy

interesting concept and great characters but story jumps all over the place . I won't get another abridged version. would make a great TV series.

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Patrick
  • 07-08-08

An excellent book wonderfully read

I thoroughly enjoyed this book when I first read it more than 20 years ago but didn't expect to be as impressed as I was by this reading of it. Sean Barrett captures beautifully the crumbling world J. G Farrell creates, but behind the the gentle humour he also reveals the twisted loyalties and tragedies that affected so many lives in the Ireland of the 'Troubles' of 1916/1922.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Clare
  • 07-24-08

Great Author, Great Narrator

I came to this book after watching the Culture show on BBC2 recently where they had a ?Best of the Bookers? spot on the show. Their favourite book (The Siege of Krishnapur) was written in 1973 by J. G Farrell and it filled me with the desire to try him out as soon as possible as I liked the idea of trying an author completely unknown to me. Unfortunately this title was abridged but thankfully it didn?t dissuade me as I thought at could least I get an intro into his style.

I really enjoyed ?Troubles? and it has certainly left me wanting to listen to more of his work. It has a somewhat eccentric and humorous style to it and its set in the period on unrest in Ireland shortly after WW1, so gives you an interesting insight into that era at the same time.

I really liked the main character Brendon Archer and he and all the characters were wonderfully portrayed by the narrator Sean Barrett.

All I need now is some more of his titles on the site, unabridged though of course!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Andy B
  • 10-27-17

Great writing and subtle, intelligent reading but...

...whose idea was it to interrupt the above with a tedious rendition of, and I’m guessing here, an Elgar piece. This repeated ‘theme music’ was thrown in at almost any opportunity with no concern for the writer or the narrator.
A mistake. Luckily the talent elsewhere survived this.
I’ve downloaded another by the same author and am filled with a mixture of anticipation of the writing mingled with trepidation as to the production.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Hugh M. Clarke
  • 12-16-17

Excellent Novel with Some Losses Due to Being Abridged

As with all abridged novels, something is oust in this recording. In this case, it's the poetry and humour of the original novel. However, Sean Barrett's reading is ideally suited to this novel, which has a characteristic Irish dryness and absurdity.

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  • Vixter
  • 09-29-17

Book club selection

An interesting insight into Ireland just after the war in the eyes of the Major.

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  • Alan
  • 08-19-13

beautifully written story

Would you try another book written by J. G. Farrell or narrated by Sean Barrett?

yes

Who was your favorite character and why?

the main character is a good person and very human

What does Sean Barrett bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

much more entertaining and dramatic

Was Troubles worth the listening time?

yes good for relaxing on holiday

Any additional comments?

great story read it