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Carry Me Down

Carry Me Down [Kindle Edition]

M.J. Hyland
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)

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Product Description


"I don't think I've ever read such a true book... A wonderful feat of the imagination." Hilary Mantel "This is a gripping read. Hyland has a unique and compelling style." Irish Independent

Book Description

New from Walker/Canongate: the compelling story of a twelve-year-old boy whose obsession with detecting lies threatens to tear his family apart.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 395 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books; New Ed edition (4 Jun 2006)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #160,909 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER
John can't stop growing. At the age of 11 he is six feet tall and looks much older, but his mind is still that of a child. We see everything from John's point of view. He is obsessed with the idea that he will one day be famous and writes letters to the Ripley Museum near Niagara Falls, and to the Guinness Book of Records. He can tell when people are lying and thinks this might be his route to fame. He could be the human lie detector and people would come to see him from far and wide.

John and his parents are living with his grandmother in Gorey, a country village (in Ireland). His parents are having a difficult time and his father wants to enrol in University, but he has to pass the Trinity examination. John doesn't make friends easily, but when a new teacher arrives at the school, John is picked out as someone special - for the first time in his life his vivid imagination seems valued. But then his father quarrels with his grandmother and they leave for Dublin where they live in a high-rise block of flats and his father gets a low-grade job as a machinist.

The intensity of this narrative which gives us John's internal thoughts and ideas in relentless detail, can become a little overwhelming. John seems at times both threatening and vulnerable and the family atmosphere becomes claustrophobic, especially after John catches his father lying once too often. There is one incident at this stage of the book that is horrifically chilling and may cause the reader to withdraw any easy sympathy the book has built up for John. Nevertheless, this is a totally engrossing read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Carry Me Down 28 Oct 2009
By b
11 year old John Egan shares a cottage in Ireland with his parents, his grandmother and a cat. He is obsessed with the Guiness Book of Records and with his ability to detect the lies and untruths told by those around him.

Yet these obsessions cause trouble. His attempt to break a world record leads to an embarrasing incident in class whilst his pursuit of truth affects the relationships of those closest to him. His family are thrown out of the cosy cottage and end up on the twelfth floor of a grimy, Dublin skyscraper.

Throughout this novel, narrated in the first person by John, we question the integrity and even the sanity of the storyteller, realising his obsessional nature may reflect a psychological condition which prevents him from appreciating the effects his actions have on others. Yet it is this element of mystery that makes this novel so intriguing. MJ Hyland explores the naivety and uncertainty of a 12 year old boy with precision and the novel is written in an unfussy, controlled style.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Is john so eccentric or mad?? 21 Oct 2006
This novel held me in thrall for all its pages. These passed too quickly, except for the excruciating pain of the move to the project slum in Dublin, with its unforgettable stench and filth- particularly the scenes around the elevator and the gang bullying.These were so vivid and real that each second dragged by painfully.I found John totally believable and not nearly as weird or eccentric as others have. I find John's reactions to his world a credible and deeply moving reaction to the adults that stifle his creativity and his peers that reject him when he behaves differently to the norm- or simply because he matures early and is a target for bullying and derision. His hopes to make his mark in the world and achieve something beyond the moribund pretensions of his father fuels an obsessive need to excel and be noticed.This is so common a need in teenagers as to be a cliche.John's methods may be unusual but his motivation is a deeply innate part of the individuation process essential but so painful during adolescence.That he chooses lie detection as his "gift" perfectly reflects the role he takes in the family- as the go between from his mother's sensual and imaginative life and his father's closed intellectualism and his granny's cloying possessiveness.John understands his purpose in life is to reveal the truth- like all art at its highest levels. Taking on this role is a potential minefield, and explosions abound.

John's mother's lively encouragement of his imagination and creativity, reflecting her own love of fantasy and theatre, add to this explosive mix, and his sensual attachment to her is poignantly expressed , as are his other emerging sexual feelings.The betrayal of Brendan is keenly observed by Hyland, and the claustraphobic intensity of the shed scene was unforgettable.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Of the highest order... 3 Oct 2006
"This is writing of the highest order." This is how JM Coetzee describes Carry Me Down. So, it is with high expectations that I started reading M.J. Hyland's latest offering - and at the end of the book I emerged astonished, puzzled, bewildered, and deeply disturbed.

Few pages into the book, and you wonder if this is another coming-of-age offering similar to David Mitchell's latest offering; the somewhat simple, yet brilliantly devious prose reminded me of Ali Smith's brilliant novel, the Accidental. However, continue reading, and you realise that this is no ordinary tale. It is meant to haunt the reader long after he or she finishes reading it.

Narrated by the almost 12-year old boy, John Egan, Carry Me Down offers little but the complicated lad's view of the story. He, his beautiful mother and his jobless father all live with John's paternal grandmother at her place in Gorey, Ireland. Much of the second half of the book takes place in Dublin, where the family moves after a nasty spat between John's father and his grandmother.

However, the theme of the story lies in what the boy claims is his extraordinary ability to "detect lies." The lazy reader who likes to have an informed opinion by just reading the jacket of the book might assume that the boy indeed does have a gift. But, Hyland offers little in the way, despite the "apparent" (and I stress the word apparent) experimental successes John demonstrates - particularly, when it comes to revealing his father's extramarital affair, although I'm not convinced, if indeed that is the case.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
I very much liked this book. I have nothing coherent or eloquent to add at this time of the morning that has not already been said by 5* reviewers.
Published 7 months ago by nicola
5.0 out of 5 stars Tragic
But brilliant piece of writing.... SO well observed and believable - it stayed with me for a long time after reading... Read more
Published 9 months ago by katie-mac
3.0 out of 5 stars Carry me Down
I would corroborate what other reviewers seem to think, that this is one of Hyland's lesser works. It did not grip me quite as much as her other two (?) novels. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Sam
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this book. Kindle download
For me a great read loved this book. I am again just filling up the space with words required as I don't believe in leaving reviews a book is personal to you. Read more
Published 24 months ago by Mrs Lee Hill
2.0 out of 5 stars Pointless
I really didn't see the point of this book. Somehow I just didn't get it. I was waiting for the story - which was really well written - to develop but nothing happened. Read more
Published on 5 Oct 2011 by nickyb
1.0 out of 5 stars Fell at the first hurdle
I must be a bit of a wuss - but although this book started out promisingly, there is an unspeakable description of animal cruelty within the first few pages which meant that I... Read more
Published on 24 May 2011 by Snowleopard
5.0 out of 5 stars A 'What Not to Do' in Parenting
As I continue along the theme of reading novels told from the point of view of a child narrator, I found recommendations of M. J. Hyland's Carry Me Down. Read more
Published on 8 May 2011 by Claire Daisy
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but nothing special
This was an easy, enjoyable enough read but not enough happened for my liking. Certain passages early in the book hinted at something dark taking place - a hidden side to the... Read more
Published on 1 July 2010 by Cult Fiction
5.0 out of 5 stars Looking Forward To The Next One
Never having heard of M.J. Hyland before, I read this book simply because I liked the cover.

The story is an endearing one, a precocious eleven-year-old struggling... Read more
Published on 1 Jun 2010 by A. BAGNALL
2.0 out of 5 stars Lacks the drive to be real quality
I'm not saying this isn't without merit, and I may even go as far as to say its worth a read, but I found the sparse style and single pace rather wearing. Read more
Published on 6 April 2010 by Christopher Brown
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