Not Untrue and Not Unkind Hardcover – 2 Apr 2009
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'A fine, darkly authoritative' -- Joseph O'Neill
'Leaves a deep impression ... vibrant but restrained prose'
'O'Loughlin's writing is vividly descriptive and evokes the sights and sounds of war-torn Africa in the late 1990s ... a gripping picture'
-- Daily Mail
'One of the most powerful debut Irish novels of the last decade' -- Sunday Business Post
'Passionate, colourful ... love story and tragedy, mystery and professional satire (à la Evelyn Waugh's Scoop) all rolled into one' -- Irish Times
'A fine, darkly authoritative'See all Product description
Top customer reviews
There is an incredible atmosphere in the book - and a gritty realism that just pulls you in. I heartily recommend this book, and I look forward to Ed O'Loughlin's next one.
If you like this book, you may also enjoy Arturo Perez-Reverte's Painter of Battles.The Painter Of Battles It is about a world-weary war correspondent haunted by his experiences.
There were a couple of sections in the book where a little more information would have been welcome - understatement in writing is generally a good thing but here I sometimes found myself a bit baffled or feeling that there was a gap. However, this doesn't detract from the overall story arc which works well and keeps the reader interested throughout. Several sections are moving and hard-hitting, describing life in war torn African states with level-headed empathy.
But underlying the exotic setting and sometimes dramatic events, is the theme of friendship, loneliness and the need to belong. O'Loughlin writes relationships and dialogue very well, and this makes his portrayals of the group of journalists at the core of story endless fascinating and real.
It's a well written story which I think most lit fic readers would enjoy. It misses the five star rating not because of any great flaw, but more because it lacks a certain special something to elevate to the highest level. Saying that, I've a feeling this is the sort of book that will stick in the mind and grow on you, so maybe looking back I'd rate it higher.
A chance discovery in the drawer of dead newspaper colleague, the sort of man who never travels beyond the office but whose fearsome reputation terrifies reporters around the globe, of a private file reopens old wounds. It takes us back to the start of a reporter's career when the job was all about principle and ideals. But as Owen Simmons flies into his first African story - the post-Rwandan mess in the eastern Congo - he is forced to make compromises.
This is a book written with great authority - not least because O'Loughlin worked Africa in the 1990s as a reporter. We learn what snacks foreign correspondents subsist on in the developing world (cheese and onion Pringles, no less) and how satellite phones have brought stark immediacy where reporters once had time to cogitate and compose.
But it is also written with beauty and poise that does justice not just to the African landscape where it is set but to anyone who has ever dreamt of making a difference.
Buy this book. You won't be disappointed.
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