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4.5 out of 5 stars1,124
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 31 August 2008
The Misremembered Man is a fascinating story of life in rural Ireland in the 1970`s although the characters could be found in any community. The author, Christina Mc Kenna, has skillfully and beautifully woven humour, pathos and anger in her story. Her character descriptions, especially Jamie and Lydia, are so real and very convincing. Jamie`s awkwardness and sad background is a poignant reminder of the cruelty imposed on children by those entrusted to care for them. This contrasts with Lydia`s refinement, attention to detail and privileged upbringing. The Misremembered Man evokes from the reader a roller coaster of emotions. The story is so colourfully written it is impossible to put the book down once started. A must read book with a surprise twist in the tail.[or tale]
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on 12 August 2014
A dreadful read. Turgid and banal with underdeveloped characters, plodding pace and saccharine ending. Shallow treatment of mental illness and it's causes.
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Set in 1970s rural Ireland, The Misremembered Man is an insightful tale of two lonely hearts looking for love. Jamie McCloone, is 41 and a bachelor farmer, still mourning the death of his adoptive parents but his neighbours Paddy and Rose convince him that all he needs is the love of a good woman. Forty year old teacher Lydia Devine feels stifled looking after her cantankerous elderly mother and longs to be happily wed. Their courtship is filled with comic moments as Rose imparts her pearls of wisdom on love and romance to the shy and socially awkward Jamie. However the comedy is balanced perfectly by Jamie's memories of his traumatic upbringing in an orphanage run by the clergy.

Christina McKenna captures the lilting tones of the Irish idiom perfectly with fleshed out, realistic characters who will make you laugh and cry in equal measure. Despite his dreadful childhood, the gentle giant, Jamie, never complains and simply wants some love and affection in his life. On the surface, Lydia seems to come from a much more privileged background but her upbringing in a strict Presbyterian home was arid and joyless. In today's supposedly "sophisticated" technological age, it might be hard to imagine such a simple world where folk are rather naive and less street-wise than their modern counterparts but, coming from a rural Irish background myself, it all seems very true to life.

A compelling, heartfelt, moving read which would make a wonderful film.
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on 8 May 2012
I bought this book as a Kindle daily deal as a result of the 29 5 star reviews and I was not disappointed. I loved the gentle pace, which I thought entirely appropriate for the decade, and the slow drawing together of the elements. The range of emotions from harrowing sorrow to where I had tears running down my cheeks with laughter were beautifully handled. I loved this book and will re-read soon.
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on 28 November 2011
By turn harrowing,touching,funny & sad,the story follows Jamie's life from an appallingly cruel childhood in the Irish childcare system of that time,
through his 'rescue' and into a somewhat bleak middleage when a twist of fate alters his life. All this woven together by Christina
McKenna to produce an enthralling,sensitively written story with an ultimately satisfying conclusion.
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on 26 June 2012
Firstly, this book is well written and well plotted. Then, it evokes the lonely life of the Irish farmer who sets out to find companionship against an authentic and sympathetic background. We care about him and his circle of friends because they are well drawn. I had wanted to recommend this read to my book group but obtaining paperback copies for those who don't have a Kindle proved impossible. What a pity.
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on 13 October 2012
It has taken me some time to straighten out how I felt about this book. In fact, I'm not sure that I have. There was something about the book that made me keep reading and enjoying it. The main characters were interesting and believable and their (adult) stories were compelling in spite of their ordinariness.

While I enjoyed the book overall, two aspects diminished this a little. One is probably quite specific to me. I grew up very close to "Tailorstown" around the time the adult story was set. I found it hard to believe that the author had been in the same place as me. When I saw braces referred to as suspenders, I went looking for the author's biography expecting to find an American with Irish parentage. An important event in the narrative was shattered when the post seemed to be delivered with Jamie was suffering a hangover from his Saturday night out - a Sunday delivery in 1970's Northern Ireland was inconceivable. And although most of us managed to live very normal lives in this time, the "troubles" coloured every day of our lives and yet didn't even touch this story. As I say, these are issues that may be peculiar to me and I can applaud the author for writing a novel set in Northern Ireland that doesn't use the troubles in the story line, but leaving them out completely is like removing the mountains that dominate the area. On the positive side, I did recognise the shops, the pubs, the bands and the fashion.

My second problem with the book was that the horrors experienced by the young Jamie didn't have the credibility of the adult character. I can't put my finger on why for sure, but suspect that the extremes of evil in all the people he encounters reduces the story to a single dimension without any shades of grey.

All in all, I would recommend the book. I was distracted by what I saw as historical inconsistencies, but I'm sure that I wouldn't have noticed them if the book wasn't so close to my life.
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on 8 May 2012
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book . It reminded me of home and characters i knew as a child. The brutality described in Jamies childhood lay in stark contrast to the humerous stories of his present day which made me laugh out loud. I' m afraid to see the 'fillum' when it comes out-the characters may not be the same as i have in my head and that would never do....
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 11 December 2011
Without giving too much away this novel revisits the shameful world of the Irish orphanages where generations of children were tormented and abused. It's still hard to believe that the last of these was closed as recently as 1996 and that the facts only came to light in the 1990's. The bleakness of the lives lead by these children is haunting and the author handles the matter with great sensitivity. It's a lovely story with much to be celebrated amongst the wreck of so many innocent young lives, with flashbacks to the orphanage intertwined with life in rural Ireland set in the 1970's. Somehow the author manages to inject humour into the pathos, in a truly poignant and heart warming novel.
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on 30 March 2014
This isn't my usual kind of book. I got this for free on a promotion otherwise I don't think I would have been drawn to it otherwise. For the most part this was a delightful find. Unlike many of the other reviewers who didn't believe the characters and found the language overly simplistic, I found the characters very believable, mainly because they used a lot of the words and phrases that my own Irish grandmother used herself. Growing up in a small town I understood Lydia's frustration and feeling of being trapped in a situation. The author paints a vivid picture of life in a rural small town.

What lets the book down however, amongst other things, is the encroaching Americanisms which are out of place with the characters and the location. I'll like to give the author the benefit of the doubt there as it was an American publisher who printed the book and no doubt the edits were made to appeal to an American readership. This is purely speculation on my part.

The author however spoils the book herself by the repeated overuse of Jamie's abuse backstory. This was completely unnecessary. It seemed to be included for the sole reason of sensationalism. What with that and the 'big reveal' at the end of the book , it was hardly a surprise. The obvious conclusion was the one the author opted for. No big surprise, no plot twists.

For these reasons I cannot give this book anything higher a rating than a very average 3 stars, a pity as it started off so well.
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