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A Long Long Way Paperback – 7 Apr 2005

107 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Faber and Faber; First Edition edition (7 April 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571218008
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571218004
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 2.2 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (107 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,033,418 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sebastian Barry was born in Dublin in 1955. His plays include Boss Grady's Boys (1988), The Steward of Christendom (1995), Our Lady of Sligo (1998) and The Pride of Parnell Street (2007). His novels include The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty (1998), Annie Dunne (2002), A Long Long Way (2005) and The Secret Scripture (2008). He has won, among other awards, the Irish-America Fund Literary Award, the Christopher Ewart-Biggs Prize, the London Critics Circle Award and the Kerry Group Irish Fiction Prize. A Long Long Way, which was also shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Dublin International Impac Prize, was the Dublin: One City One Book choice for 2007. The Secret Scripture won the Costa Book of the Year Award, the Irish Book Awards for Best Novel and the Independent Booksellers Prize. It was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Kerry Group Irish Fiction Award, Christopher Ewart-Biggs award and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. He lives in Wicklow with his wife and three children.

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Review

'A beautifully written book with human value.' -- Sunday Times

'The story grips, shocks and saddens; but most importantly refuses to be forgotten.' -- The Times

'Unsurpassed in First World War fiction, A Long Long Way is a small masterpiece with an exhilarating resoluteness and authority.' -- Independent

Book Description

A repackaged edition of A Long Long Way by Sebastian Barry - shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2005 - an epic and moving story of one man's war. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

97 of 98 people found the following review helpful By A. Coyle on 17 July 2006
Format: Paperback
I'm not really one for war novels but was drawn to this because of its focus on Irish soldiers fighting in the Great War against the backdrop of the Easter Rising in their own country (I'm Irish myself) and because it was nominated for the Booker Prize. I whizzed through 'The Da Vinci Code' before this (well, I thought it was about time that I knew what people were going on about) and found it a blessed relief to savour the poetic prose of Sebastian Barry's novel after the dross of Dan Brown's. Barry describes interactions and interiority with poetic insight, so much so that I re-read many passages, just to taste properly all that they had to offer. However, some of his graphic descriptions of the field of battle are stomach-churning - and so they should be. In Willie Dunne, he creates a deeply empathic character whose growing sense of out-of-placeness and disillusionment with the discourses of war build incrementally across the novel. I found the end both shocking and deeply moving. This is a superbly crafted book that I would recommend unreservedly.
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89 of 90 people found the following review helpful By Patricia on 11 Aug. 2006
Format: Paperback
I read this book a few months ago and when I finished it I felt I had to read it again to capture some of the powerful descriptions of human feelings, love, fear, confusion, betrayal, disappointment, compradeship, etc., I picked it up again last week and have enjoyed reading every page of it a second time.

In this book Sebastian Barry has dealt with a subject rarely even talked about until recently in Ireland. That is, the dilemna of 1916 when Irishmen were fighting against Britain in Dublin while at the same time Irishmen were fighting in WW1.

This is the human side of that dilemna. As Colm Toibin says on the cover of the book "This is Sebastian Barry's song of innocence and experience composed with poetic grace and eye, both unflinching and tender, for savage detail and moments of pure beauty. It is also an astonishing display of Barry's gift for creating a memorable character, whome he has written, indelibly, back into a history which continues to haunt us".
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 4 Sept. 2005
Format: Paperback
I thought Ian McEwan's book was a certainty for the Booker until I read this. Barry writes with the intensity and passion usually associated with the great world war one writers Sassoon and Owen. You can almost feel and hear the pain and sounds of the trenches. His examination of the ambivalence and confusion surrounding the Irish question hits the perfect note. My own father was a Northern Ireland RUC man who regarded himself as Irish but who gave an allegiance to the Queen's uniform. Our family identities were never clear-cut because of the conflicts of interest and Barry dramatically and accurately portrays the same dilemmas.
A wonderful read.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 27 Oct. 2005
Format: Paperback
This is without doubt my read of 2005. Sebastian Barry is to be admired for his brave choice of historical content in this book. The story of young, innocent Irish men fighting and dying under an English flag in foreign fields deserves to be told. Indeed it is a story that may well have been censored for a long time. Barry tells it well, graphically illustrating the horror of that time in British and Irish history. But the prize that this book represents is held in the poetry of the words and the thoughts - even in the most gruelling passages. This is a book of love, family, passion, bravery, innocence lost and humanity gained. A great, great read.
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By B. Gudmundsson on 23 Feb. 2006
Format: Paperback
I don't like using big words when describing books. But I think I will have to do it this time around. A Long Long Way is one of the best novels I have read in a long time. Let me explain.
I've long been interested in fiction that takes place in a war or is in someway related to a war situation. At first because of the action, but as I grew up I liked to read about how people react in a war situation. Following Willie Dunne's ordeals I felt so many pains, so many sorrows. Sebastian Barry shows great depth in describing both the conflicts of war but more importantly the agonies of war, the fear and hopes of the soldiers. I'm not a big fan of poetry. But in this case I think the fact that Sebastian Barry is a poet as well as a novelist and dramatist may explain why his style is so good, so capable of conveying emotion (mind you I haven't read any of his poetry).
A Long Long Way is perhaps the best novel I've read in a long time. If I try to categorize it as war fiction it tops all the books I´ve read recently (Doctorow's The March - good -, Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried - very good -) and war related fiction such as Gunther Grass's Crabwalk - very good - and Ismail Kadare's General of the Dead Army - somewhat disappointing.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Mr. John McQUAID on 23 Sept. 2005
Format: Paperback
Sebastian Barry has laid many ghosts for me in this heart-wrenching and wonderfully written account of the Irish involvement with British affairs at the beginning of the twentieth century. I read the book almost without a break (although I did struggle through the elongated period of the Great War itself).
The convoluted history of Home Rule and the myriad twists in the confused minds and loyalties of the Irish people (which still exists today) has troubled me for years, as I have tried to make some sense of my own father's history and of his own loyalties. Sebastian Barry has done the job for me overnight in the confines of this one novel. In substituting my father for Willie Dunn, I wept unashamedly as I read of his condemnations by his father.
A great book and best wishes in the Booker.
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