Short listed for the Man Booker Prize, 2008.
Nearing her 100th birthday, Roseanne McNulty faces an uncertain future, as the Roscommon Regional Mental Hospital where's she spent most of her adult life prepares for closure. Over the weeks leading up to this upheaval, she talks with her psychiatrist, Dr. Greene, and their relationship intensifies and complicates.
Told through their respective journals, the story that emerges is at once shocking and deeply beautiful: a secret history of Ireland's changing character and the story of a life blighted by terrible mistreatment and ignorance.
Listen to our fascinating interview with Sebastian Barry on the Audible.co.uk Podcast.
©2008 Sebastian Barry; (P)2008 Oakhill Publishing
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"Grim, and somehow elating.."
This story still haunts me a week after I finished the book. I'm not able to focus on the book I'm trying to listen to now, I still have Roseannes voice in my head. Beautifully written, beautifully narrated. I haven't quite made up my mind about the ending though...
"A story to move even a hardened heart"
How does a hidden history in our family affect the life we live. What do the secrets do to us, unbidden. Sebastian Barry writes beautifully, poignantly and with a depth that, in the end made me put my hand to my mouth to supress the gasp as the secrets are unravelled and the truth is finally revealed. There is 100 years of Irish history in this novel, seen through the eyes of Rosanne as she writes down what has never been told of her life. Then there is Dr Green, Rosanne's psychiatrist, who is trying to unwrap her silence gently, respectfully and with dignity.
I am deeply moved by this book and give thanks to Stephen Hogan for giving a voice to both Rosanne and Dr Green. His narration could not have been better and as I listened, his voice became my own voice as the story evolved and stirred the tragedy of Rosanne and of those who had pulled the strings of her life.
Yes - if it was a male person as the key story teller. I felt this was a weakness Rosanne was the main person and it was confusing when you continuously heard a male speaking
It was a good story but was a bit dark and confusing sometimes
No...I have loved all the other audible books
"Horrid and nasty"
This is a horrid and nasty little book which I could not finish. The author needs to take a serious course of antidepressants and not inflict his twaddle on the reading public. The author is a somewhat skilled wordsmith but apparently thinks heaping one tragedy on another without end is writing.
I don't expect a book to have a Hollywood ending but surely there has to be some point to the book other that showing how awful a country Ireland was, how evil the Catholic clergy were and how tragic and meaningless all human life is.
"The Secret Scripture"
This is a truly extraordinary book and one which will live on with you long after you have finished reading it. The beautiful, descriptive narrative just unfolds the further you enter into the story. I also thought the reader's voice was perfect, at times beguiling in keeping with the text and at other times sounding as distressed as the key characters. It is also a really clever book, I had no idea where it was going to go next and actually I was happy to be taken along wherever it went. It is also a shocking story however and one which troubled me in the sense of man's capacity to do untold harm to others and to have control of their lives. Deeply, deeply moving and one of the most powerful books I have listened to in years. I have recommended it to everyone! - probably to the point of being annoying - a wonderful woderful book.
This is a beautifully crafted book, and it captures that rural Irish perception of beauty. It is also beautifully read, capturing the soft lilt of the west Irish brogue. "A terrible beauty"! For within lies the brutality of war, the oppression of rigid morality, and the confusion of truth and memory.
"Love this book"
Really loved this story and couldn't put it down. It took me two days to finish this one and the ending was not what I expected, really great. Would definately recommend this book.
"A wonderful book, in every way"
Sometimes you read - or listen to - a story that you know will always remain in your mind. This is one such story. Laden with almost unbearable sadness and dread at where the writer is going to take you - I spent the last hour of listening in tears but didn't want the story to end. Was the ending a happy one? I think so. Beautifully read, with real empathy for the characters.
I enjoyed this book immensely. I was captivated both by the story itself, and the lyricism of the writing. The phrasing feels emphatically Irish, very poetic. The different narratives of the central characters knowingly offer their own slant on events, sometimes questioning the veracity of their own words and acknowledging that their perspective is personal. The narrator is utterly believable, and lovely to listen to. I enjoyed this novel so much, I bought several copies of the paperback for friends and relations, and read it myself again too. One I will keep going back to.
I listened to this as an audiobook. I don't think I'd have managed to finish it if I'd had to read it. It was very slow going, and as another reviewer has mentioned, there only appeared to be one voice, although it was being narrated by two characters. I found it too depressing, and the storyline a bit silly - the female protagonist of this novel is too passive for words, or for this listener's sympathy.
While the backdrop of Irish politics was quite interesting, I could see the denouement coming a mile off. A lot of people seem to really like this book and it has been mostly well reviewed, but, sorry, although I managed to make it through to the end (to see myself proved right!), I can't say I particularly enjoyed it.
"Intriguing story with exceptional narration"
I read this book when it was first published and enjoyed it all over again, thanks to the very talented narrator - not to mention the subtlety of the outstanding writing. It's an example of the power of the Catholic Church and its priests in early 20thc Ireland and how it profoundly affects the main character in the story.
The hypocrisy is breathtaking; the social history of the period brilliantly brought to life and it's also very poignant. Highly recommended.
This has been one of my favourite audiobooks to date. I was kept fasinated from beginning to end and I felt I got insight into the lives of the characters. Definitely recommend.
"A story which promotes some soul searching"
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was a bittersweet account of the memories of a 100 year old woman recounted in flashbacks to the Doctor who was checking on her background and why she had been placed in a secure mental home for the past 50 years or more. The author conjured up pictures of Ireland in the early and mid 20th century and the hardships endured by a population of differing religious faiths and backgrounds. I particularly liked the way she remembered her father and the man she loved and how she was betrayed by her husband's father whilst her mother in law seemed to take pity on her but was too frightened to go against her own husband's wishes. Also I enjoyed the relationship she developed with Dr.Green and the not quite unexpected twist at the end of the story. A really good read. I will now look for other books by this author.
""... I had my 4 dresses on , i was cosy...""
I could have screamed at Roseanne for the way she allowed every man to control her life but actually her character stayed true throughout the book and sometimes even content at the smallest joys. And yes, Helenbunter it does seem farfetched for a woman to wait 8 years to find out her fate but this only goes to show the absolute power of the catholic church and it's priests in Ireland during this period. After all , how do you hide years of abuse? With total control over your unquestioning flock. A great book with many wonderful lyrical passages and descriptions of Sligo.
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