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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow
This is just the most amazing book.
I suspect like many others I was jaundiced at reading/hearing so much about the troubles in Northern Ireland while they were at their worst and I thought I couldn't read anything new about them. I suspect my feelings were mostly because of frustration that I was impotent to do anything about the problems as the politicians also...
Published on 9 Dec 2009 by J. Mclennan

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4 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Better than I expected
When I found out this was the book we had to read for English class, I did not like it at all. To be honest, I find the entire problem going on in Ireland a bit uninteresting. Because that's what this book's about in the whole. When I first started to read, my opinion didn't change either. But later on, when I really got to know the main character, Cal, it's a very...
Published on 1 April 2001


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow, 9 Dec 2009
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J. Mclennan (north of Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Cal (Penguin Student Editions) (Paperback)
This is just the most amazing book.
I suspect like many others I was jaundiced at reading/hearing so much about the troubles in Northern Ireland while they were at their worst and I thought I couldn't read anything new about them. I suspect my feelings were mostly because of frustration that I was impotent to do anything about the problems as the politicians also seemed to be at the time. I didn't think that any book which covers the subject could be so totally absorbing. This book cleverly shows that people living in Northern Ireland probably didn't have choices. They pretty well had to go along with one side or the other. Sitting on the fence would have been a very dangerous place to be.

Bernard McLafferty has written a tour de force in this book in so many ways. It's an extraordinarly gripping read telling the story of a lad who didn't want to get sucked in. Poignant. This was required reading for a course and I am so glad it was.
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5.0 out of 5 stars For school work, 20 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Cal (Penguin Student Editions) (Paperback)
This was purchased for my son for him to read for higher English. He really enjoyed the book and wrote a terrific report.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Caught between the devil and the deep blue sea, 5 May 2003
This review is from: Cal (Penguin Student Editions) (Paperback)
Set in war-torn Northern Ireland in a hard-pressed Protestant ditrict, MacLaverty's Cal mixes the somehow predictable love affair between representatives of the two opposing sides with the tragedy of the political situation. Admittedly, some simplification in the line of the plot may well put off the trained reader; still the author succeeds in keeping outward tension going, while building up acceptably to the inevitability of making the best of both worlds.
This short novel, draws from the author's personal background and reads the more authentic for that. If anything, Cal can claim its righteous place alongside those other works which deal with ideological prejudice as the root cause of an unbridgeable social and emotional gap between characters: 'East is east and wet is west and ne'er the twain shall meet', or things to that effect.
In hindsight, this is a most satisfactory read, and an early promise of such top quality successors as Grace Notes and more.
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4 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Better than I expected, 1 April 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Cal (Penguin Student Editions) (Paperback)
When I found out this was the book we had to read for English class, I did not like it at all. To be honest, I find the entire problem going on in Ireland a bit uninteresting. Because that's what this book's about in the whole. When I first started to read, my opinion didn't change either. But later on, when I really got to know the main character, Cal, it's a very interesting book. I could hardly stop reading, and when I had to I was already longing to read on. The problems Cal faces are in a way recognisable, but yet they aren't since he's living in a violent environment. You can really feel his doubt; should he choose his side, the Catholic side, or the other, the "Brit" side? And then there's Marcella, the mysterious woman he fell in love with. An impossible love as it seems later on.
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Cal (Penguin Student Editions)
Cal (Penguin Student Editions) by Bernard Mac Laverty (Paperback - 26 Oct 2000)
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