Customer Reviews


88 Reviews
5 star:
 (56)
4 star:
 (23)
3 star:
 (5)
2 star:
 (3)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


86 of 87 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book to read again
I read this book a few months ago and when I finished it I felt I had to read it again to capture some of the powerful descriptions of human feelings, love, fear, confusion, betrayal, disappointment, compradeship, etc., I picked it up again last week and have enjoyed reading every page of it a second time.

In this book Sebastian Barry has dealt with a subject...
Published on 11 Aug 2006 by Patricia

versus
26 of 32 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tipperary Calling...
Long Long Way is, put simply, a war novel. When you read a war novel you expect to learn that war is hell. Willie Dunne is our 18 year old Irish war hero, too short to enter into the police force in which his Da honorably serves, he enlists. Political forces are about their dirty work at home in Ireland, as well as in Europe and the Easter Rising fractures a society still...
Published on 6 Oct 2005 by robbo360


‹ Previous | 1 29 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

86 of 87 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book to read again, 11 Aug 2006
By 
Patricia (Dublin, Ireland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Long Long Way (Paperback)
I read this book a few months ago and when I finished it I felt I had to read it again to capture some of the powerful descriptions of human feelings, love, fear, confusion, betrayal, disappointment, compradeship, etc., I picked it up again last week and have enjoyed reading every page of it a second time.

In this book Sebastian Barry has dealt with a subject rarely even talked about until recently in Ireland. That is, the dilemna of 1916 when Irishmen were fighting against Britain in Dublin while at the same time Irishmen were fighting in WW1.

This is the human side of that dilemna. As Colm Toibin says on the cover of the book "This is Sebastian Barry's song of innocence and experience composed with poetic grace and eye, both unflinching and tender, for savage detail and moments of pure beauty. It is also an astonishing display of Barry's gift for creating a memorable character, whome he has written, indelibly, back into a history which continues to haunt us".
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


84 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superbly crafted novel, 17 July 2006
By 
A. Coyle "acoyle7" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Long Long Way (Paperback)
I'm not really one for war novels but was drawn to this because of its focus on Irish soldiers fighting in the Great War against the backdrop of the Easter Rising in their own country (I'm Irish myself) and because it was nominated for the Booker Prize. I whizzed through 'The Da Vinci Code' before this (well, I thought it was about time that I knew what people were going on about) and found it a blessed relief to savour the poetic prose of Sebastian Barry's novel after the dross of Dan Brown's. Barry describes interactions and interiority with poetic insight, so much so that I re-read many passages, just to taste properly all that they had to offer. However, some of his graphic descriptions of the field of battle are stomach-churning - and so they should be. In Willie Dunne, he creates a deeply empathic character whose growing sense of out-of-placeness and disillusionment with the discourses of war build incrementally across the novel. I found the end both shocking and deeply moving. This is a superbly crafted book that I would recommend unreservedly.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Evokes pain and sorrow, 23 Feb 2006
By 
B. Gudmundsson (Iceland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Long Long Way (Paperback)
I don't like using big words when describing books. But I think I will have to do it this time around. A Long Long Way is one of the best novels I have read in a long time. Let me explain.
I've long been interested in fiction that takes place in a war or is in someway related to a war situation. At first because of the action, but as I grew up I liked to read about how people react in a war situation. Following Willie Dunne's ordeals I felt so many pains, so many sorrows. Sebastian Barry shows great depth in describing both the conflicts of war but more importantly the agonies of war, the fear and hopes of the soldiers. I'm not a big fan of poetry. But in this case I think the fact that Sebastian Barry is a poet as well as a novelist and dramatist may explain why his style is so good, so capable of conveying emotion (mind you I haven't read any of his poetry).
A Long Long Way is perhaps the best novel I've read in a long time. If I try to categorize it as war fiction it tops all the books I´ve read recently (Doctorow's The March - good -, Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried - very good -) and war related fiction such as Gunther Grass's Crabwalk - very good - and Ismail Kadare's General of the Dead Army - somewhat disappointing.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A passionate tale., 27 Oct 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: A Long Long Way (Paperback)
This is without doubt my read of 2005. Sebastian Barry is to be admired for his brave choice of historical content in this book. The story of young, innocent Irish men fighting and dying under an English flag in foreign fields deserves to be told. Indeed it is a story that may well have been censored for a long time. Barry tells it well, graphically illustrating the horror of that time in British and Irish history. But the prize that this book represents is held in the poetry of the words and the thoughts - even in the most gruelling passages. This is a book of love, family, passion, bravery, innocence lost and humanity gained. A great, great read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A possible Booker winner?, 4 Sep 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: A Long Long Way (Paperback)
I thought Ian McEwan's book was a certainty for the Booker until I read this. Barry writes with the intensity and passion usually associated with the great world war one writers Sassoon and Owen. You can almost feel and hear the pain and sounds of the trenches. His examination of the ambivalence and confusion surrounding the Irish question hits the perfect note. My own father was a Northern Ireland RUC man who regarded himself as Irish but who gave an allegiance to the Queen's uniform. Our family identities were never clear-cut because of the conflicts of interest and Barry dramatically and accurately portrays the same dilemmas.
A wonderful read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ireland's All Quiet on the Western Front, 9 July 2006
By 
Gareth Smyth "Enjilos" (County Mayo, Ireland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: A Long Long Way (Paperback)
While inevitably billed as a "revisionist" work that seeks to tell the story of the Irish who fought for Britain in the First World War rather than against Britain in the 1916 uprising, the real achievement of Barry's novel is that it goes beyond the flags to ask if any of them was really worth fighting for.

Barry is a fine writer, with a gift for characterisation and for simple description. He has a gritty realism but touches a pathos linking all those who fought - for Ireland, for Germany, for Britain, for money - and who were heroes, victims and traitors.

Ireland has found its 'All Quiet on the Western Front'.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read, 28 Jan 2006
This review is from: A Long Long Way (Paperback)
The Irish Government recently announced that a parade to commemorate the 1916 Easter Rising would be re-introduced after a gap of over 30 years. As I write this, I have just completed reading a speech by President Mary McAleese where she rejected claims that the 1916 Rising was sectarian. The move is on in Ireland to finally come to terms with 1916, the two communities in Ireland, our link with Britain. There is also much written recently by writers like Kevin Myers about Irish participation in the First World War. Sebastian Barry's book is a timely contribution to the re-awakening of consciousness on this turbulent period of Irish and European history.
Even with hindsight of 90 years, it is hard to have a balanced view of where Irish soldiers serving in the British Army fit into our society. Reading this excellent book by Sebastian Barry gives us some idea of the identity crisis that many such soldiers must have experienced. It also gives us an insight into the horrors of WW1, though the book does not describe much of the action.
The description and terror of a gas attack is very powerfully written and genuinely moving. Barry gets inside the mind of an ordinary soldier (Willie Dunne) and successfully brings his readers along with him. One can almost touch and feel the horror experienced by the soldiers whether they were Irish or British.
On a more personal note I enjoyed the book and its links with South County Wicklow where I grew up. To think that boys/men from our own localities served and died in the war brings this story closer to home.
One small quibble - if you have read or seen the movie of Erich Maria Remarque's "All Quiet on the Western Front" you will be struck by the similarity of both stories even though one is about a German and the other an Irish soldier.
Overall, this is a most enjoyable book and is worth taking the time to read. I found myself reading over some parts twice not because of any difficulty reading the text, but simply to enjoy it more.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful stuff, 23 Sep 2005
By 
Mr. John McQUAID (Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Long Long Way (Paperback)
Sebastian Barry has laid many ghosts for me in this heart-wrenching and wonderfully written account of the Irish involvement with British affairs at the beginning of the twentieth century. I read the book almost without a break (although I did struggle through the elongated period of the Great War itself).
The convoluted history of Home Rule and the myriad twists in the confused minds and loyalties of the Irish people (which still exists today) has troubled me for years, as I have tried to make some sense of my own father's history and of his own loyalties. Sebastian Barry has done the job for me overnight in the confines of this one novel. In substituting my father for Willie Dunn, I wept unashamedly as I read of his condemnations by his father.
A great book and best wishes in the Booker.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Long Long Way, 27 May 2005
By 
Ian Bain (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Long Long Way (Paperback)
Few of us csn imagine the horror of the trenches in the Great War, or the ordinary soldier's almost placid acceptance of fate. Sebastian Barry does it as well as any fiction writer and better than many. You can feel Barry's anger at both the awful wastefulness of life and the terrible naivety of those who fought and died.
This is a deeply poignant and beautifully written book but not a comfortable one. In many places it will grasp your own sadness and, in one or two, touch your grief. Somewhere I shed a tear.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No country for young men, 7 Sep 2008
By 
hbw (uk) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: A Long Long Way (Paperback)
When Willie Dunne and his mates marched down to Dublin docks in early 1915, crowds cheered and girls waved. Some men, like Willie, had signed up to defend Catholic Belgium; many hoped that their service would be rewarded with Home Rule; others simply did it to support their wives and children.

Within two years, the cheering would stop and soldiers on leave would be spat at in those same Dublin streets. These "Irish Tommys" had become everyone's enemy: bombarded by German shells, despised as traitors by Ireland and regarded as untrustworthy by the British, whose uniform they wore. The Easter Rising had changed everything.

"A Long Long Way" is a powerful novel about life in the trenches, strongly reminiscent of Robert Graves' eye witness account in Goodbye to All That. But it's more than that. In his earlier work, Annie Dunne, Sebastian Barry gave a voice to a generation of voiceless Irish women. Here, in the story of Annie's brother Willie, he speaks for a generation of young Irish men who died in Flanders mud only to be airbrushed out of history for the best part of a century.

This book exposes yet another unhealed wound in the shameful and complex histories of Britain and Ireland. The history (the real history) of this period is starting to be written, but perhaps the emotional impact can only be conveyed in the pages of a novel.

This is a novel to be read, reflected upon and wept over.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 29 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

A Long Long Way
A Long Long Way by Sebastian Barry (Paperback - 6 April 2006)
5.99
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews