The Dark and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more
FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10.
Only 5 left in stock (more on the way).
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon.
Gift-wrap available.
Quantity:1
The Dark has been added to your Basket
+ £2.80 UK delivery
Used: Good | Details
Sold by Book Flood
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: May be an ex-library copy. Used books do not normally come with their included CD, Item is being shipped from the UK.
Trade in your item
Get a £0.34
Gift Card.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Dark Paperback – 5 Jun 2008


See all 20 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
£22.00
Paperback, 5 Jun 2008
£7.99
£3.03 £2.86
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"
£7.99 FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Only 5 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • When you trade in £15 or more you’ll receive an additional £5 Amazon.co.uk Gift Card for the next time you spend £10 or more.

Frequently Bought Together

The Dark + Amongst Women + Memoir
Price For All Three: £26.97

Buy the selected items together


Trade In this Item for up to £0.34
Trade in The Dark for an Amazon Gift Card of up to £0.34, which you can then spend on millions of items across the site. Trade-in values may vary (terms apply). Learn more

Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (5 Jun. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571225675
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571225675
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 1.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 287,536 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Book Description

The Dark by John McGahern is the great Irish writer's second novel, set in rural Ireland and dealing with adolescence and the powerful but ambiguous relationship between son and widower father.

About the Author

John McGahern was born in Dublin in 1934 and brought up in the West of Ireland. He was a graduate of University College, Dublin. He worked as a Primary School teacher and held various academic posts at universities in Britain, Ireland and America. In the opinion of the Observer, John McGahern was 'Ireland's greatest living novelist'. He was the author of six highly acclaimed novels and four collections of short stories, and was the recipient of numerous awards and honours, including a Society of Authors Travelling Scholarship, the American-Irish Award, the Prix Etrangère Ecureuil and the Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. Amongst Women, which won both the GPA and the Irish Times Award, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and made into a four-part BBC television series. His work has appeared in anthologies and has been translated into many languages. His last book, Memoir, was published in 2005.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Malcolm U on 8 Aug. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this novel because of a quotation in a theological book by a Catholic priest. I wasn't disappointed. Until a few weeks ago I'd never heard of John McGahern, but the passage quoted whetted my appetite and intrigued my curiosity. Words are inadequate to express how much I have enjoyed and loved "The Dark." It is both a profoundly human story as well as a moving one. There are obvious allusions to the author's own life. No one could write as John McGahern does with such passion and understanding unless he had drawn from his own experiences. McGahern's prose is superb and his descriptions of the Irish countryside and human situations are beautiful. I was moved to tears several times. I feel a better person for having read it.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By jimidimi on 9 Feb. 2013
Format: Paperback
Bristling with the threat of violence from the outset, the opening chapter is one of the most disturbing and claustrophobic I have read. The father in the book is a bitter man, his moods uneven and extreme, and as a consequence his children live in fear of him and punish him the only way they can- by shutting him out of their lives as much as possible. His feeling of isolation is something that compounds the misery within the farmhouse walls; it begets isolation in each of his kids, although the book concerns itself chiefly with the son's perspective. A prominent theme is the difficult relationship between father and son, and there is certainly a feeling that Mahoney (the father) is clinging to the strength of youth, and the power over his son, when it is slipping away. His son is strengthening as he himself is becoming older and tired. It is a power struggle that blights many father and son relationships at the time when sons become young men.

Beyond that, there is another struggle that McGahern is eager to recount: sanctity and its promise of eternal life battles the quick, hot promise of release from sexual need. One of the reasons this book was banned in Ireland is the author's suggestion that the line between sanctity and sex is blurred. Priests are meant to abandon life for life-in-death but in The Dark it is inferred that they are involved in sexual abuse. There is also the implication that Mahoney himself is abusing his son.

The journey within the book does include some resolution, an element of peace and forgiveness between the son and father. But the mid-twentieth century Ireland detailed in the book is a dark place rife with poverty and abuse, where the taint of childhood can never be absolved. A nervous child becomes an adult who lacks confidence in himself and his abilities. Darkness begets darkness.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
41 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Tim Hearn on 12 Feb. 2004
Format: Paperback
In this novel, McGahern ably explores the pain of adolescence
in rural Ireland imn the 1960s. Whilst much of the imagery employed by the author may now seem cliched, its power resides
in the sparing prose.
The story is told through the voice of a young Irish boy and the conflict he experiences with his violent widower father.
The priesthood offer one way out of from the seemingly hopeless eternal drudgery on the farm.
Out of such apparently unpromising material McGahern evinces
the inner world of the protagonist.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
By Dr R TOP 500 REVIEWER on 15 Aug. 2014
Format: Paperback
I was unaware of the history associated with ‘The Dark’, John McGahern’s second novel, published in 1965. The book was denounced by the Catholic hierarchy and the author dismissed from his teaching position in Dublin. The affair stimulated a vigorous debate about both the censorship and the role of the church in the Irish educational system.

McGahern describes a young man’s coming-of-age in the rural backlands of Ireland. The central character, who is never named, lives with his widowed father, Mahoney, a violent bully and abuser, and his three daughters. At the very beginning, the father is about to strip and beat the boy in front of his sisters ‘“The filth that’s in your head came out, you mean. And I’m going to teach you a lesson for once. You’d think there’d be some respect for your dead mother left in the house. And trying to sing dumb – as if butter wouldn’t melt. But I’ll teach you.” He took the heavy leather strap he used for sharpening his razor from its nail on the side of the press’. The book’s title is so very apt.

The first half of the book contrasts the traumatic homelife, constantly trying to predict Mahoney’s mood, with the boy’s emerging talents in school. When he wins a scholarship his father’s response is ‘“Take it if you want and don’t take it if you don’t want. It’s your decision. I won’t have you blaming me for the rest of your life that the one chance you did get that I stood in your way. Do what you want to do.” He knew Mahoney wanted him to stay from school and work in the fields.’ Later, drunk, Mahoney shouts “I went to school too.” The boy uses his studies to construct a place of safety and as he approaches his final examinations the self-imposed pressures are ratcheted up.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Simon Bendle on 28 Jun. 2012
Format: Paperback
For those of us who love Ireland, John McGahern's second novel is not always an easy read. The Ireland he writes about - old Ireland - can be an ignorant and violent place, a rural backwater where sex is a dark and sinful thing. But do not be put off. This book is outstanding; a beautiful and powerful story of a country boy's struggle to grow out of the darkness of his childhood and into the light of happy adulthood. The Dark was banned in Ireland in the Sixties. Now McGahern is considered one of the country's greatest writers. If you haven't read him, you should. It can't be long before they start printing his face on tea-towels alongside Swift, Wilde, Joyce and Beckett.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Look for similar items by category


Feedback