This Is The Way Hardcover – 31 Jan 2013
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‘A curious and delightful confection … A sly and lovely humour dominates … Anthony Sonaghan and Uncle Arthur will linger a long while with readers … A memorable work from a gifted writer whose next moves we should await with very keen interest’ Kevin Barry, Guardian
‘This fresh and funny novel is a devastating love story – one that comes upon you by stealth and stays with you long after you’ve finished reading’ Claire Lowdon, New Statesman
‘Within a couple of pages, I had fallen into the rhythm of a unique and extraordinary voice.’ Kate Saunders, Daily Mail
‘Corbett creates a memorable voice to explore the power that heritage wields over an outsider struggling to find his place in the world’ Sunday Times
‘It’s a bloody good story’ Spectator
‘The triumph is in the telling. Anthony’s voice, once heard, is hard to forget; its rhythms, its repetitions, its sly humour – all strike the reader as genuinely original. It’s a timely reminder that while fiction may not change things in the real world, it does offer us new ways to dream’ Irish Times
'A troubling, mysterious, demanding and beautiful book, narrated in a voice unlike any I have encountered in fiction. Corbett knows what he's doing: every sentence throbs with power.' Emma Donoghue, author of ‘Room’
‘A writer with the rigorous introspection of James Kelman, mediated by the compassion of Raymond Carver and the visceral imagination of Alan Warner. Yes, and a hearty measure of Flann O'Brien besides. But the hell with the antecedents: the man is an original, with a bridge to the world of first things he's fashioned for himself.’ James Meek, author of ‘The People's Act of Love’
‘A wonderful new voice.’ Joseph O’Neill, author of ‘Netherland’
‘The voice is brilliant. It is tender and true, arcane and elevated. It holds the past and present in a single visionary gaze. This is not only a wonderful book, it is a book about wonders.’ Eoin McNamee, author of ‘Resurrection Man’ and ‘The Blue Tango’
About the Author
Gavin Corbett was born in the west of Ireland and grew up in Dublin, where he studied History at Trinity College. His second novel, ‘This is the Way’, was published in 2013, and was named the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year in 2013. He lives in New York.
Top Customer Reviews
They recant the story of their families through memories of the past and conversations. They also get involved with some am dram types from the University who see them as `original' etc - almost patronisingly so. Arthur too has fallen for a Gilaroo, whilst his brother and Anthony's father Aubrey has found God. Or rather an alternative Catholic version of God and that led him to take in a Spanish female student. All of the events have an effect on Anthony who is a bit on the naive side - he seems to have a child's outlook on most things, which leads him to make some rash decisions. As the story unfolds we discover why everything is now as it is and get to learn a whole lot about traveller culture into the bargain.
Gavin Corbett is obviously talented but this will not be a book for everyone. I am from an Irish background, though have lived in England my whole life. I do understand a bit more than some about Irish ways and especially the language. This actually helped as a lot of this book is done in reported speech, but with an Irish twist. We get `So I says to him....etc', which took a while to get used to.Read more ›
Author Gavin Corbett speaks mainly though Anthony Sonaghan, a somewhat naïve young man, who has a Sonaghan father and Gillaroo mother, together with his father Aubrey and uncle Arthur Sonaghan. After Anthony moves to a building of multiple occupation in Dublin to avoid conflict and lie low he is encouraged to tell stories by a lady he meets in the city library. Other characters exercising influence are Anthony's mother who left his father, his brother who committed suicide, a Spanish girl lodging with his father, and a religious renegade. The story oscillates between the old life of tinkers and travellers and today's altered expectations. Past events and experiences are recalled with flashbacks, there are religious undercurrents, there are transfers of loyalty, and there are attempts at peace-making. With use of Irish vernacular and omission of speech symbols `This Is The Way' is not an easy read but it is worth the effort in terms of appreciation and comprehension of blood ties troubles, but more significantly on the traditions of story-telling and the use of language.Read more ›
The Sonaghans and the Gillaroos both try to make sense of things through stories and when Anthony comes across an academic who wants to record travellers' stories, he tells us: "I thought like this. I was a well. I thought of stories as the water. If she wants water from the well water will fill in the well. That is what I thought."
"This is the Way" is distinctive for Anthony's voice, as seen in the sentences above. Like another reviewer (who puts it much better than me), I began the book worrying that this would be an example of unconvincing ventriloquism, but I gradually came to appreciate the rounded character that Corbett was presenting. Overall "This is the Way" is a quietly satisfying book which can be relished for its rich myths and back-stories.
The lost Irish Traveller who narrates this book is summarising the views of the university librarian who has taken him up as an echt natural who can tell her stories of the misty boglands before civilisation, stories which occasionally punctuate this rather plotless and despairing novel.
What it does have is an idiosyncratic flat tone capable of poetic and eloquent moments, though not really of humour. It isn't perhaps enjoyable, but it has its rewards if you stick to it in all its oddness.
I wondered if it patronised both the poor pavee and his bohemian librarian, and I decided it does. Is it a prime example of Irish miserabilism? Yes and no. It's a good enough book to make you interested to see what the author will do next.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Poor quality and uninformed. Might have been worth reading if the author had any actual experience of the traveller community but he doesn’t - in the writer’s own words in a recent... Read morePublished 24 months ago by Patrick Horan
Gavin Corbett's debut, narrated by an Irish traveller called Anthony, is another of those novels that depends on an original and captivating narrative voice for its success. Read morePublished on 15 Feb. 2014 by Laura T
This Is The Way is about the voice.
Anthony Sonaghan is an Irish traveller, telling his story in a series of disjointed and opaque narratives. Read more