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Everything In This Country Must Paperback – 6 Oct 2003

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Product details

  • Paperback: 162 pages
  • Publisher: W&N; New Ed edition (6 Oct. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753811200
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753811207
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 1.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 235,842 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Colum McCann, originally from Dublin, Ireland, is the author of five novels and two collections of stories and has won numerous international literary awards for his writing. His film Everything in This Country Must was nominated for a short-film Oscar in 2005. Zoli, Dancer and This Side of Brightness were international bestsellers and his latest novel, Let the Great World Spin, won the 2009 National Book Award. His fiction has been published in twenty-seven languages. Colum McCann lives in New York.

(Photo credit: James Higgins)

Product Description

Amazon Review

Colum McCann uses the point of view of an innocent to superb effect in his new novella and two stories, Everything in this Country Must. The title is taken from the first story, in which Katie, a 15-year-old girl, strives to help her father save a drowning horse. She fears that the horse will die, "since everything in this country must."

Although Katie's voice is a little too cute at times, McCann really finds his stride in the novella, "Hunger Strike", told from the perspective of a 13-year-old boy, whose uncle is on hunger strike in Long Kesh. In the confused and conflicted boy, McCann succeeds in expressing the inability of most people to comprehend the experience of watching someone starve themselves to death. Staying with his mother in a caravan in Galway, the boy envies his uncle and misses the North. All the incipient signs of becoming "a hard man" are there: half a letter self-tattooed on his finger; throwing stones at sheep; spitting at cars; and shouting "tough shite" at any opportunity. The boy tears out his uncle's picture from a newspaper and folds it into his pocket, saying, "He could stay alive in there and emerge when all of this was over." He also begins to refuse to eat and moulds bits of food into small chess pieces, something he can easily control. The text is interrupted by charts showing the mounting days, dropping weights and blood pressure of the prisoners. The relationship between the mother and son is exceptionally well-drawn--the moments she doesn't scold him for swearing and the moments he notices her let slip the word "wee" and they share pride in their Northern-ness. The boy's puberty is visually exact as when he parades himself with "his shirt ambitiously undone" when his first chest hair appears. As the uncle's death approaches, the boy's incapacity for tenderness and emotional release finds outlet in a final destructive act which McCann balances very convincingly.

This highly accomplished new work has benefitted from gestation at a distance and shows how the Troubles will linger in writer's minds long after a lasting peace. --Cherry Smyth --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


"There is no denying the discipline that has gone into "Everything in This Country Must ."--"Charles Taylor, "The New York Times Book Review" "Captures that peculiar nexus of hormones, deprivation and political imperative on a Northern Irish child coming of age." -Susan Salter Reynolds, "Los Angeles Times Book Review" "[A] stunning new book...Told in McCann's lush prose, these stories are both mesmerizing and painful." " -""Minneapolis Star-Tribune" "McCann has the knack of capturing the intensity of these strongly held views in a low-key prose that underscores their vitriol, and in a way that disturbs the reader's sensibilities." -"Richmond Times-Dispatch" "Excellent - this is a powerful and moving collection." -Roddy Doyle "Masterful. These emotionally charged, beautifully controlled tales can only enhance McCann's already considerable reputation." --"Kirkus Reviews" (starred) "These are powerful stories - gritty, memorable and ambitious. The novella goes stra

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Signified1 on 25 Aug. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a short novella. Once read, every word sticks. Emotions can't be described better. Incredible writing from Colum McCann.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Penny Botel on 18 Jun. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
COLUM MCCANN is a writer of the first magnitude. Anything he writes, i will read. love it love it love it
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 8 reviews
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Everything in this Country Must a Must 15 Mar. 2000
By Michael Cowgill - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Colum McCann, one of the finest young writers in Ireland & Amreica continues to grace us with this corageous book. Not just corageous for the obvious subject, the Troubles in Northern Ireland, but its deeper one -- the connections between the life around us (political and otherwise) and the life inside us. At its center is not so much the Troubles but the depths and power of love -- love for country, for God, for family and for one's self. These loves are at odds with one another. The narrator of the title story loves her father and lost mother and brother, yet she feels drawn to the young English soldier who helps them save their horse, and very well may have caused the accident that killed her mother and brother. The mother in "Wood" must decide between her love for her invalid husband and her Protestant identity, and tries to balance them. And in "Hunger Strike" a boy's coming of age through his uncle's and country's political strife is guided and challenged by adults who wish to protect him and soothe his rage. This is not the "All You Need is Love" kind of love. This is deep, spritual, love -- the thing binds us and breaks us, and McCann is brave for tackling this within a political context and a world that often values surface issues instead of, to paraphrase Norman McClean, the river that runs through us.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A little great book! 2 Mar. 2001
By Maria Pia Capozzoli - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Northern Ireland, with its troubled history and its extreme enviroment, is an easy subject for second-rate writers, and actually you can find a lot of would-be thrillers, unlikely to get a second edition.
For the same reason, Northern Ireland is a difficoult subject for good writers. That's why you can find many interesting non-fiction books, but really few good novels.
With "Everything in this country must" Colum McCann proves once again to be a great writer. While reading it, I was nearly overwhelmed by emotions. And I was amazed by both the simplicity and the effectivness of his writing.
It's a little book, just 150 pages. You could read it in two hours. But because it's a great book I would suggest you to read it very, very slowly, enjoying every word, every line, every emotion. And in so doing, may be you happen to realize that McCann is deceiving all of us: he writes poems disguised as short stories.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Purchase this book now! 25 Mar. 2000
By Gary Silk - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the few books of its genre that I actually enjoyed. The characters and settings simply jump out of the pages at you and make you see so vidly everything that the author is attempting to convey.
I can't think of a single part of this book where I wasn't completely mesmerized by both the intelligent way the characters and plots weren't handling in an intelligent and poignant manner.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
heartbreaking and stunning work on youth in northern ireland 25 Aug. 2001
By Chris R. Richards - Published on
Format: Paperback
McCann's work is filled with subtlety and original crisp images that are culled with attention to detail. The novella and two short stories here feature experiences of youth affected by political turmoil in Northern Ireland. Yet the stories are not heavyhanded about the politics; they explore the lives of three adolescents while integrating the colonial frustrations into the narrative. This ie easily one of my favorite reads from the past year. The stories read quickly, but they have a density to them and a richness in language and emotion. While the tone seems brooding, there is still something to celebrate about the well written characters and insights that McCann offers in this work
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Adult conflicts through children's eyes 17 Jun. 2001
By Shannon Dare - Published on
Format: Paperback
If you are looking for a fresh, new look at "The Troubles," this is the book. I found the book to be disturbing because all three of the stories centered on children and their peripheral involvement in the North. In each of the stories the adults were too caught-up in the day-to-day difficulties they encountered due to the circumstances. None of the children written about were understood nor were their feelings and concerns acknowledged. It is heart-breaking to watch how these children suffer without the parental-figures in their lives even realizing the impact the war is having on the children.
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