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The Gamal [Kindle Edition]

Ciarán Collins
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
Kindle Price: £6.02 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Book Description

Charlie has a story to tell, about his best friends Sinéad and James and the bad things that happened. But he can’t tell it yet, at least not ’til he’s worked out where the beginning is. Because is the beginning long ago when Sinéad first spoke up for him after Charlie got in trouble at school for the millionth time? Or was it later, when Sinéad and James followed the music and found each other? Or was it later still on that terrible night when something unspeakable happened and someone chose to turn a blind eye?

This is the story of the dark heart of an Irish village, of how daring to be different can be dangerous and how there is nothing a person will not do for love. This is the story of the Gamal.

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Product Description


A gritty, modern Romeo and Juliet told by a compelling and original voice


Astonishing. Inventive. Playful. Unique. A novel to savour. Ciarán Collins is the real deal (Colum McCann)

An unforgettable narrator (John Boyne)

He is a tremendous storyteller . He exists somewhere in a literary territory between Patrick McCabe and Roddy Doyle . A cracking debut, as moving as it is entertaining (New York Times)

I can't remember the last time a book made me honk with laughter, only to force me to get off the tube early with tears streaming down my face fifty pages later (Evie Wyld, Flavorwire)

A magnificent literary debut . By a writer of extraordinary talent (Sunday Independent (Ireland))

He is a tremendous storyteller ... The Gamal sprawls to more than 450 pages, but the unflagging ingenuity of Ciarán Collins's writing justifies its length. He exists somewhere in a literary territory between Patrick McCabe and Roddy Doyle, but he is very much his own man and this is a cracking debut, as moving as it is entertaining (Independent on Sunday)

Book Description

Winner of the Rooney Prize 2013

Shortlisted for the Irish Bord Gais Energy Award, Sunday Independent Newcomer of the Year 2013

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 885 KB
  • Print Length: 481 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing; 1 edition (11 April 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #238,116 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Moving Acount of a Man Named Charlie. 3 May 2013
By ACB(swansea) TOP 50 REVIEWER
The narrator Charlie is the 'gamal', ( shortened from the Irish 'gamalog', meaning simpleton) of the story. Crazy is the generic term for him. Oppositional Defiant Disorder is the technical nomenclature. However he is defined, he narrates his own story with the aid of his intellect and the internet. Contrary to nature, to the point of being perverse, his lack of conformity gives him a licence to free speech with his disorder as a back-up excuse. He is not short of friends who are close to him. Sinead and James have suffered adversity. Charlie and the readers do not know the ins-and-outs of these, but Charlie is observant and is no slouch when it comes to being astutely perceptive.

Whatever is up, Charlie's psychiatrists feel his talent for assessing life around him would be therapeutically beneficial written down in book format. Ever-willing in an apostate manner, Charlie may as well be setting down his story for blind-folded readers. In similar vein his approach to his beloved music is written with a join the dots and fill in the blanks challenge. He is in an indefinable category of a controlled and deliberate looseness that annoys the establishment as his talents are clear. Throw in his abilities as an an illustrator of life whether in song or words, both in realism or the cleverness of a story-teller, Charlie is your man.

His misfit talents eventually cross singer Sinead and the ritualistic background of Protestant James. If envy or mistrust arise, Ciaron Collins is able to camouflage them, not without touches of humour. An excellent, thoughtful and entertaining novel that deserves a wide readership.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very impressive debut 25 Jun. 2013
I bought this book on the recommendation of one of my students - her brother is a student of the author. I was slow to buy the book because I normally prefer fiction by foreign authors, but I'm really glad that I did.

The book is well structured, and layered in a way that little bits of the story are revealed in different ways. At times the book is laugh out loud and at other times I was in floods of tears with the tragedy unfolded. Because of the style used by the author, it feels like you are inside of the story observing what is going on, or remembering what happened.

Lots of it is very "West Cork" in terms of some of the language used and the phrasing, but very cleverly done. Coming from this area myself, I thought it was authentic and definitely know of characters who are similar to almost all of the characters in the book.

I read a lot of books, but recommend very few of them but have recommended this to lots of friends and family at this stage.

Go and read this book. Ciaran Collins is certainly an author to look out for in the future.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This Is A Book Apart! 12 July 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
The Gamal by Ciaran Collins is A Book Apart!

Charlie, who is known in his local village of Ballyronan as The Gamal, is considered by everyone to be not quite there. Not the full shilling. He has decided very early in life that there is no reason for him to do anything that other people wish him to do. Charlie remains silent observing people. He notices the important small things that influence the bigger things.

Charlie has a sad story to tell and with the help of his psychiatrist, Dr Quinn, he is going to try to write down what has transpired and explain why he is suffering from An Dubh (The Blackness, depression).

‘Sorrows notice me”

He is treated like a village idiot and in his school his teachers decide he is slow and have no expectations of him at all. They are happy to let Charlie sit at the back of the class drawing. But Charlie is listening and watching.

Some teachers are cruel and calculating towards him and it is a moment of scholastic segregation that leads to Sinead sticking up for him and befriending him.

Sinead comes from a troubled home herself and she too is different amongst her peers.

James arrives to the small village and he is welcomed with open arms of embrace shielding daggers of debilitating bag stabbing .His family, the Kents, have an unfavourable history with the locals due to callous acts carried out in the time of the famine.

Similar to Charlie and Sinead, James is ostracised in a very cunning and cruel fashion by the local bullies. Inevitably the three characters form a strong bond of friendship. Charlie refers to Sinead as;

‘More-ish. In the same way people find me less-
Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars Can't recommend highly enough 3 Aug. 2013
By Blank
Format:Kindle Edition
Slow start, in fact very slow start, but then ..... It just takes off (after at least 100 pages) and you are hooked and you can't stop reading because you want to find out what actually happened as you have become so involved with the main characters and want to know how and why the story will turn out.

I don't want to ruin it for you and yes you can guess what happens to Sinead and James from the outset but you want to find out why and you have to picture being an outsider, for various reasons, living in a small community and not fitting in. Which is what draws Charlie, Sinead and James together in the first place. However, you have to give Charlie's narration your full attention because he's not as daft as he appears.

Well worth a read!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars This one was a good read. Some Irish Books fit into the "Misery ...
This one was a good read. Some Irish Books fit into the "Misery Lit" genre, but this is not the case here. I wonder whether non-Irish readers will get some of the comments. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Orinoco
5.0 out of 5 stars A different and intriguing read
This is a great first novel that develops slowly but keeps you enthralled and I couldn't put it down. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Sue
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book!
Despite the unusual writing style which would not suit everybody....I thought this was a great study of both difference and adolescence.
Published 19 months ago by Mrs Fiona O'Regan
5.0 out of 5 stars Gamal
Insight into mind of Charlie is amazing. Description of the bullying that happens ( now and in the past ) is very apt and descriptive. Also many happy 'pictures' of the three. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Macca
5.0 out of 5 stars Thrilling, Emotional and Unforgettable
The Gamal is an emotional roller-coaster from cover to cover. Collins (shortlisted for Irish Time Newcomer of the Year) captures the life of modern rural Ireland amazingly and... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Gavin O Driscoll
5.0 out of 5 stars Grt Book
As usual great speedy delivery, great read, would highly recommend to any interested reader, good price also! Shall look out for other books by Ciaran Collins!
Published 23 months ago by F Scallon Farrell
4.0 out of 5 stars "You'd think ancient history is ancient history. It isn't. Not in...
Charlie McCarthy, who is twenty-five as the book begins, is writing about events which occurred five years ago in Ballyronan, outside of Cork, events so traumatic for him that he... Read more
Published on 23 July 2013 by Mary Whipple
1.0 out of 5 stars Not a great read
The Gamal had many twists and turns very very confusing in places. It took me to get 50% through the book before it captured my imagination but the ending unfortunately lost and... Read more
Published on 2 July 2013 by Kate
4.0 out of 5 stars Totally enjoyable read.
Refreshingly different book. It's not my usual style, but I am very glad I bought it. I look forward to reading more from Ciarán Collins.
Published on 24 Jun. 2013 by Subtitle
5.0 out of 5 stars Just the funniest most beautiful book ever, that's all.
I read this book a couple of months ago and it has stayed with me. At points I was blown away by the skill of this writer, had to put the book down and stay very still thinking... Read more
Published on 27 May 2013 by E. R. Wyld
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