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Other People's Countries: A Journey into Memory Hardcover – 20 Mar 2014

4.9 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape (20 Mar. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224098306
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224098304
  • Product Dimensions: 16.4 x 2.2 x 22.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 382,753 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

"McGuinness is a marvellous writer... On every page there are breathtakingly gorgeous images, similes, metaphors." (John Banville Observer)

"McGuinness has written the great book on Belgium and modern memory, or even Belgium and modern being. He takes his place among those singers and painters of the haunted, the melancholy, the diminished, the caricatural, the humdrum." (Michael Hofmann Guardian)

"Lyrical and evocative... This is a very Proustian memoir, whose effect will be to drive the reader into contemplation of their own half-forgotten childhood home." (Josh Glancy Sunday Times)

"A rich analysis of home and homelessness." (James Wood London Review of Books)

"This book had a powerful effect on me... Sometimes hilarious, sometimes freighted with tragedy." (Gillian Tindall Literary Review)

Book Description

A very special book of short, Proustian pieces on childhood and how the places of our childhood are embedded in us.

Winner of the 2014 Duff Cooper Prize
Winner of the 2015 Welsh Book of the Year Award
Shortlisted for the 2015 James Tait Black Memorial Prize
Shortlisted for the 2015 PEN Ackerley prize
Longlisted for the 2014 Thwaites Wainwright Prize

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As an expatriate Briton living in Belgium since 1977 I found these sketches of life in a small town in the Ardennes as seen through the eyes of a half-Belgian (actually half-Walloon - important!) and half-English (of Irish descent) boy/youth/adult totally fascinating. The often poetically worded vignettes of the people and places are full of hidden meanings and significant insights. Even if you have never set foot in the Belgian Ardennes (Europe's best-kept secret, according to a British friend of mine who recently chose to retire there after a lifetime in England) you will find interesting history, memorable characters, picturesque descriptions and philosophical reflection in these pages. And if you don't know Bouillon and its surroundings, this book will make you want to go there and see for yourself.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I’ve seldom bothered to review a book after reading it : “what difference would one more review make”. But in this case I just can’t leave it at that. This is a wonderful piece of literature. A beautifully written, poetic, poignant, funny, and often melancholic exploration of memory. The best book I’ve read in a long time and unhesitatingly recommended.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Thoughtful, intelligent, unexpected memoir. Warmly personal but also casts a cool eye on history, geography, politics of this region of the Ardennes. The author has a poet's eye and ear for metaphor and a touch of the philosopher in his musings on memory. There is also a playful sense of paradox and fun with the etymology of place names and nicknames. Any fans of his novel, The Last Hundred Days, or his two poetry collections will love this book. Perhaps a better idea to invest in paper rather than digital version in order to enjoy the artfully meditative photographs.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
John Banville put it so well in his review "McGuinness is a marvellous writer – literally, his book is filled with marvels". I've just read this through a second time and it is a book that grows with re-reading. Meditative, evocative, poignant and uplifting in equal measure. Quietly brilliant and highly recommended.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Brilliant book - my book of the year so far. Well written with language to savour. If you like words and books about the spirit of place this is for you.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm reading The Last Hundred Days by the same author - what an excellent book - well written with very interesting subject. I'm looking forward to starting Other People's Countries.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a magical gem, so beautifully written with lovely black and white photographs. Small but perfect, and I will treasure it.
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