- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Canongate Books; 1st Paperback Edition edition (6 April 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1921145099
- ISBN-13: 978-1921145094
- ASIN: 1841957348
- Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.6 x 21.5 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,566,660 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Carry Me Down Paperback – 6 Apr 2006
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'This is fiction writing of the highest order.' -- JM Coetzee
New from Walker/Canongate: the compelling story of a twelve-year-old boy whose obsession with detecting lies threatens to tear his family apart. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Few pages into the book, and you wonder if this is another coming-of-age offering similar to David Mitchell's latest offering; the somewhat simple, yet brilliantly devious prose reminded me of Ali Smith's brilliant novel, the Accidental. However, continue reading, and you realise that this is no ordinary tale. It is meant to haunt the reader long after he or she finishes reading it.
Narrated by the almost 12-year old boy, John Egan, Carry Me Down offers little but the complicated lad's view of the story. He, his beautiful mother and his jobless father all live with John's paternal grandmother at her place in Gorey, Ireland. Much of the second half of the book takes place in Dublin, where the family moves after a nasty spat between John's father and his grandmother.
However, the theme of the story lies in what the boy claims is his extraordinary ability to "detect lies." The lazy reader who likes to have an informed opinion by just reading the jacket of the book might assume that the boy indeed does have a gift. But, Hyland offers little in the way, despite the "apparent" (and I stress the word apparent) experimental successes John demonstrates - particularly, when it comes to revealing his father's extramarital affair, although I'm not convinced, if indeed that is the case.Read more ›
John's mother's lively encouragement of his imagination and creativity, reflecting her own love of fantasy and theatre, add to this explosive mix, and his sensual attachment to her is poignantly expressed , as are his other emerging sexual feelings.The betrayal of Brendan is keenly observed by Hyland, and the claustraphobic intensity of the shed scene was unforgettable.Read more ›
John becomes obsessed with the truth or falsehood of what others are telling him, and comes to believe that he has a unique gift for detecting lies. This obsession has tragic consequences for his parents' marriage, and leads to an enthralling climax.
I enjoyed the atmosphere of Dublin and the Irish countyside created by Hyland and much of the characterization is convincing, but some of the realism is not for the over-sensitive.
Comparisons t other child narrators like that in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time or David Mitchell's latest rather miss the point; this is a book about the consequences of a kind of extreme puritanism and perfectionism - the desire to make the world in the way you want it and the inabiity to fully realise that other people have lives that are outside your ken.
However, like the best child narrators, John Egan (the 12 year old central character) does evoke strong felings of sympathy (despite him being a little creepy)and sees the world with an off-kilter vision that has not yet been dulled by adulthood.
A great read.; highly recommended.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
In recent years several novels have taken as their subject the mind of a disturbed child. In some the child is himself/herself a first-person narrator. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Samson
This book might deserve five stars - it was a page turner, which was quite an achievement given that it was so bleak and grim to read. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Louise Gillett
MJ conjures up the voice of a child with chilling clarity. John never wavers in his attempts to understand the world, but never gains an understanding of himself.Published 20 months ago by Kieran Marsh
Well-written but very sad book. Felt so sorry for the child involved. Couldn't say it was enjoyable to read but definitely worth reading.Published 23 months ago by Tricia
I very much liked this book. I have nothing coherent or eloquent to add at this time of the morning that has not already been said by 5* reviewers.Published on 20 May 2014 by nicola
But brilliant piece of writing.... SO well observed and believable - it stayed with me for a long time after reading... Read morePublished on 3 Mar. 2014 by katie-mac
I would corroborate what other reviewers seem to think, that this is one of Hyland's lesser works. It did not grip me quite as much as her other two (?) novels. Read morePublished on 16 Nov. 2013 by Sam
For me a great read loved this book. I am again just filling up the space with words required as I don't believe in leaving reviews a book is personal to you. Read morePublished on 28 Dec. 2012 by Mrs Lee Hill