A few participants recently read and reviewed A Long Long Way by Sebastian Barry for the WWI Reading Challenge in 2012 and for the Literature and War Readalong hosted by Beauty is a Sleeping Cat. Here are excerpts; click the links to read the full reviews:
Beauty is a Sleeping Cat said:
With the exception of the dishonest structure, and an almost sadistic finishing off of the main character, the novel has a lot of elements that I thought well done. I haven’t read any WWI novel this eloquent on the use and the horrors of mustard gas. Nor any novel that showed the role of the priests so well.
Savvy Verse & Wit said:
Barry’s work not only demonstrates the physical trials of war, but also the mental hardships that accompany the loss of friends and people you didn’t even really have time to get to know, as well as deal with the bureaucracy that is the military and the perceptions of others about your commitment to the cause and battles that happened in the past that you witnessed first hand and may not be retold in the way in which they actually happened. There is a battle that rages inside each soldier about when to speak up and when to keep quiet, and Willie struggles with that daily.
Diary of an Eccentric said:
When I finished A Long Long Way, five words came to mind when I though about how to describe this novel: loyalties, confusion, innocence, horror, and loss. Willie certainly is innocent when he first goes off to fight, innocent about politics, war, and even women. He is confused about what’s going on in Ireland, and I can’t say I was any more enlightened than he was given that Barry writes as though the reader already has an understanding of the country’s history.
**Attention participants: Remember to email us a link to your reviews, and we’ll post them here so we can see what everyone is reading!**
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