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The Temporary Gentleman Audio Download – Unabridged

4.5 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio Download
  • Listening Length: 7 hours and 21 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Whole Story Audiobooks
  • Audible.co.uk Release Date: 3 April 2014
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00JEICNFE

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fans of Barry will be aware of some of the referenced characters here especially so if they have read `The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty' or `The Secret Scripture' for example. This widens the tale by taking us on the journey of Jack McNulty - the brother of Eneas. He meets and falls in love with Mai Kirwan whilst studying in Dublin. She is a force of nature but has her own demons to fight. This is the story of their life together and his love for her and the bottle that would cause so much heart ache.

The story takes in his part during World War II and the times and politics of an Ireland almost now forgotten. This is a story of love, life, regret and a chasm full of emotion both stated and hidden.

Sebastian Barry is one of my favourite authors ever but I always have a scintilla of dread when he brings out a new work that he may have lost some of the magic - I am glad to say that it actually seems to grow, if that were possible. This is written in a prose style that makes you feel as if you are actually there; you can picture exactly what is happening in places and feel the emotion at the same time. He can make a tragedy come to brutal life with the intensity of pain and yet write it in such a way that it is filled with a beauty you had not thought possible.

Some of his passages are so well constructed that I find myself having to reread them as I was so mesmerised the first time that I have almost forgotten where I am. This is a rare talent that I feel humbled to be able to read. I don't think I could gush like this about any other author, but may have come close. If you are a fan of Barry then you will not need convincing, if you are new to him then you have a wonderful treat in store.
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Format: Hardcover
Quite a lot may be gleaned from the title of Sebastian Barry's latest novel i.e. The Temporary Gentleman as it is a pejorative term reserved for somebody who may be classed as a gentleman by virtue of rank for the duration of a war. The narrator of Barry's eighth novel is Jack McNulty, an Irishman from Sligo who enlisted as an engineer with the British during the second world war. While McNulty is somewhat proud of his stint with the British army he is aware that his compatriots would not share his sentiments.

The novel opens with a ship being torpedoed off the African coast during the Second World War; Jack is standing on the deck drinking from a bottle of Scotch.

We then come across McNulty in 1957 in Accra where he is writing his memoirs and being waited on by his "Man Friday" Tom Quaye. Jack's life has been marred by very heavy drinking. He met his future wife, Mai, in 1922 in Galway; she was a trainee teacher and he an engineering student. While Mai is portrayed as unique and beautiful and a dedicated supporter of Michael Collins, she is also fragile and she too turns to drink but in an even more self-destructive fashion than Jack whose own drinking came before his wife and young children. Later on in the book it emerges that before boarding the ship, which is subsequently torpodoed in the opening scenes of the book, Jack had been on leave and even though his wife in Sligo was very eager to see him, he chose to go to the races in Nottingham rather than see his family.

Through Jack's memoirs we follow Jack and Mai's lives as they unfold from the early days of their meeting. We see them travel to the Gold Coast only to return when Mai becomes pregnant with her first child.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Irish author Sebastian Barry has returned to the Sligo area of Ireland, in his new novel, "The Temporary Gentleman". Two of his previous novels - which I haven't read yet - are about the McNulty family. "The Temporary Gentleman" is about Jack McNulty and how his great love for both his wife Mai and for drink has helped to ruin her life and left him a wrecked soul living in Ghana.

Jack McNulty is one of the most interesting fictional characters I've come across in a while. Born at the beginning of the 20th century, his life has revolved around Mary (Mai) Kirwan, a physically beautiful but emotionally fragile young woman, who he woos, weds, and then helps destroy. I wondered that if you idolise someone, as Jack did Mai, does that make communicating with that person difficult? Does it make seeing her emotional weaknesses impossible? Do you not want to admit the person you love so dearly has so many flaws: Certainly Jack had very little idea of how fragile Mai was when they courted. Her odd actions on their wedding day would seem to be a precursor of troubled times ahead. Jack was certainly warned by his mother and Mai's closest friend that Mai was "delicate". But warning does not always translate into awareness by the person being warned...

Jack McNulty was able to come and go after they were married. After an early stay in west Africa with Jack, Mai returned to Ireland to give birth to their older daughter. Jack stayed in Africa and then served in the British army in several engineering jobs. He was in Sligo for long periods of time, however, and managed to lose Mai's family home through indebtedness. But was that all Jack's fault?
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