That They May Face the Rising Sun Paperback – 20 Jan 2003
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Irish writer John McGahern's first new novel in 12 years, That They May Face the Rising Sun, is a work of delicately forged beauty, the nearest he has yet come to writing of happiness. The plot remains defiantly not the thing for McGahern, with little of consequence happening beyond life's natural syncopations, yet the nuances of language and relationship soar as gracefully as the abundant wildfowl that crowd the book's pages. News is the old currency, carried in the dialogue which remains McGahern's most discernible talent. Set in rural County Leitrim, the inhabitants of the houses around the lake and the local town, heady on the whiskey elixir that loosens tongues or seals deals, watch as their insular community is gently pummelled by the creeping advance of modern life. While they share the year's natural cycle, the unfolding months reveal their personal differences: Joe and Kate Ruttledge, returned after a long spell in London; Mary and Jamesie, their whole life lived there; John Quinn, the charming, brutal womaniser, who marries and loses as quickly the bride he finds at the Knock Marriage Bureau; The Shah, Kate's uncle, who wordlessly sells his business to his cripplingly honest assistant, Frank; and Jimmy Joe Kiernan, auctioneer and undertaker, a veteran IRA man still on the lookout for stray souls. And then there is Jamesie's brother Joseph, the best shot in the district, who went to England after a woman, and stayed there, his soul sold for the "alphabetical" order of English life.
There is little alphabetical to McGahern's view of life, though there is consummate poetry. His narrative quietly rumbles out its melody through gentle variance, undulating conversations over the restless scars of violent pasts and fractured presents, the Troubles only ever across the nearby border. Stories are for the re-telling, yet the intrusion of telephone wires and Blind Date merely formalises the inevitable, the secularisation of ritual, and the dying of belief, if not yet habit. Already acclaimed as one of Ireland's leading writers for works such as High Ground and Amongst Women, to read this offering is to appreciate the unique beauty of the novel form, and the rare, bewitching talent of John McGahern. --David Vincent --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
'Quite exquisite... changes the whole character of fiction.' Sunday Telegraph 'A luminous new novel from Ireland's greatest living novelist.' ObserverSee all Product Description
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
Perhaps, the novel is lesser in stature for the lack of any real plot or narrative drive and we are left wondering about some lesser-described characters, so vividly evoked are the ones we are introduced to. What, for example, is the fuller story of Jimmy Joe Kiernan?
Beautifully-written, in that familiar spare and unpretentious literary style of McGahern's, it is engaging throughout but there are nevertheless some especially startling (the first wedding of John Quinn) and touching (the ad hoc preparations for a wake) sections.
For those unfamiliar with McGahern, everything he has ever written is recommended but this, a further maturing of his genius, is his best yet and is definitely an early contender for this Autumn's literary prizes.
As regards the apparent lack of plot, I would say it has no more and no less plot than any of our own lives. And while it is true that some of the characters may not have all their backgrounds filled in, I think we have all the background we need. Even in relation to some people we might consider important to us, we usually don't have all the background we might want.
I rather think these features are an integral part of the spell the author conjures. He makes you feel you are a special kind of witness to all the goings on. As usual with Mr McGahern, the human faults are delicious to behold. But the lasting value is again found in the subtlety with which he captures the everyday heroism implicit in humility.
The book is about life in an unheralded corner of Ireland and it is about everywhere. Anyone interested in truly great fiction should read it.
The characters are well developed and dialogue is wonderful, catching the wit and wonderful turns of phrase that still exist in rural Ireland.
This is a book you could read twice in a row and still enjoy. Highly recommended.
Reading this book is kind of like moving to a place that you've never been before and where you don't know the people around you. You get to know the characters and the plot only over time. And...there is a plot - if you consider the day-to-day comings and goings of life a plot.
Having just finished the book a few days ago, I have to say that the book was very impressive. It didn't try to dazzle or amaze with any feats of literary legerdemain. McGahern didn't feel the need to impress me with his knowledge of a subject other than daily existence. A grand book, a soothing read, and very worthy.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Lovely, lovely book. Nothing much exciting happens, there is no big plot line or twists or turns but it is beautifully written and has left me lonesome for the characters now I've... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Peggy G
A masterpiece. McGahern's ability to transform the every day into something beautiful is second to none. One of the best books I've ever read.Published 8 months ago by Adele
This is a gentle and beautiful book about a country community in Ireland. There are a host of memorable and quite extraordinary characters. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
Strange title but an interesting story of Ireland in the rare old times.Published 11 months ago by Joe OReilly
reading this on the morning train was so engrossed that I expected to walk out into the Irish countryside and the feeling lingered on throughout the day. Read morePublished 14 months ago by helsbels