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Nine Folds Make a Paper Swan Hardcover – 7 Jul 2016

4.6 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books; Main edition (7 July 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1782398562
  • ISBN-13: 978-1782398561
  • Product Dimensions: 15.8 x 3 x 21.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 391,079 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

Reminiscent of Téa Obreht, Nicole Krauss and Maggie O'Farrell, Gilligan captures the pulse of one of Ireland's untold stories, and asks us to consider the age-old dictum that the past is not dead, it is not even past. A wonderful new novel from a writer to look out for.

--Colum McCann

The most famous literary Irishman of all time was a Jew, yet the stories of his community have been seldom told. Nine Folds Make a Paper Swan blooms in that silence, with grace, confidence and vividness. I loved this beautifully written and elegantly managed novel and was sorry when it ended.

--Joseph O'Connor

A rich and layered story of the complications, the mistakes and the heartbreaks of which a human life is made... I haven't read anything like it, and I was delighted to meet with her characters: voices which are so real - sometimes funny, sometimes frustrating, sometimes devastated - and which linger in the little streets imagined by the novel long after the story has been told.

--Belinda McKeon

About the Author

Ruth Gilligan is an Irish novelist and journalist. She has written three previous novels: Forget, which reached number one on the Irish Bestsellers' List when she was 19, making her the youngest person in Ireland ever to have done so, and Somewhere In Between and Can You See Me, both published while she was still at university. She writes and reviews for the Irish Times, the Irish Independent, the TLS and the Guardian.


Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Breath of fresh air with this novel - really impressive how she weaves together both familiar and unfamiliar themes in a truly original way. Very well developed characters and a plot that has enough depth and twists to captivate, without being far fetched. And peppered with humorous subtleties, as most decent Irish authors manage to include. Read it!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The way the 3 stories intertwined was beautiful. The style left you wanting more after each chapter and it was also very educational, inspiring me to research Judaism in Ireland. Would be a great choice for a book club and inspired a lot of lively debates with friends!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An Irish friend recommended this to me (a North London Jew) and I couldn't put it down. I identified with each of the characters that Ms Gilligan describes with such care and honesty and was completely gripped by the intriguing story (or stories!) which unfolded before me on every page. I absolutely loved this novel and have been telling this to anyone that will listen!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Yes, the characterisation is great. So is the lyricism of the prose. And the weaving together of the various coincidences is novel, interesting, intriguing and ultimately, I'm afraid, just boring. Some of the passages simply go on for too long, like the digging in the bog, like the tediously long drawn-out decision to be made by Aisling.
I kept hoping for something to make me see why others found it to be a page-turner. I couldn't find it. This story of loss, unfulfilled love and the rest has been done much more enthrallingly by Toibin by others. Ruth Gilligan's stylish writing left me wanting more and I will probably visit some of her other books because of it. I hope they don't make me want to give up half way through as this one did. Sorry, I was so hoping to love it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I found it very hard to get really involved in it and gave up
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Format: Kindle Edition
There are 3 POVs in this book. Ruth's family was on their way to America, escaping Lithuania, but ended up in Ireland. She grows up there, makes a life there. I would have wished more of her story, Ireland changing and all that, instead it moved pretty past and we got tidbits here and there.

The second POV was my least fav, a boy in a mental institution, he has stopped talking and well, he just there.

The third POV was my favorite. Ashling loves her boyfriend but he wants to marry a Jewish girl, and she is wondering if she should convert.

But honestly, I wish the book had been longer, or one narrator could have been skipped so the other stories could have gotten more time. I wanted more flesh on the bones. I wanted to get to know them more. It made it confusing at time too when a new chapter started, but whose was it? Someone just started talking. It could have done with some header or something.

Why am I thinking of Joyce now...it was not like that, but they all did think a lot. We did not really see things around them. Things that were happening, it really was a character novel instead and we were in their heads.

Conclusion:
Jewish lives in Ireland. Different generations and interwoven stories.
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Format: Hardcover
A great, compelling story with clever narrative and characters you instantly feel an attachment to. Being neither Jewish or Irish is of no consequence; this is a triumph of creative writing suitable for all readers. It will consume your thoughts and tug at your heartstrings. A masterpiece of writing by Ruth Gilligan and a transformative novel from this young exciting writer.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
3 strands of story obliquely told across a century. Pertinent because of its over-arching themes of Judaism, people in transit and identity/belonging.
An early twentieth century Jewish immigration from Lithuania to Wales (mistaking Cork for New York); parents' move to Palestine as the Jewish state is about to be realised stranding their mute son (self-inflicted because of an assumed religious propriety in this action) within a convent; a modern day cross-cultural identity exploration between Ireland and North London.
The overlapping details tease cleverly in and out of the story's threads leaving a layered family history that intrigues. Fascinating historical perspectives on a community I have not previously seen as a fictional focal point.
Only downside for me was that sections felt far too overwritten...for me less would have been more.
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