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The Resource The secret scripture : a novel, Sebastian Barry

The secret scripture : a novel, Sebastian Barry

Label
The secret scripture : a novel
Title
The secret scripture
Title remainder
a novel
Statement of responsibility
Sebastian Barry
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Storyline
Tone
Writing style
Award
  • Costa Novel Award, 2008.
  • Costa Book of the Year Award, 2008.
  • James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction, 2008.
Review
  • /*Starred Review*/ From the first page, Barry's novel sweeps along like the Garravogue River through Sligo town, taking the rubbish down to the seas, and bits of things that were once owned by people and pulled from the banks, and bodies, too, if rarely, oh, and poor babies, that were embarrassments, the odd time. We are in the head and the journal of 100-year-old mad Roseanne McNulty, locked up for decades in an asylum in rural west Ireland. She has begun writing her life story, hiding it nightly beneath her bedroom's creaking floorboards. Simultaneously, her putative therapist, Dr. Grene, who barely knows her, much less her history or prognosis, begins an observation journal about her. The asylum is to be downsized, and he must determine whether she is sane enough to live on her own. He attempts to reconstruct the reasons for her imprisonment, as it turns out to be, and that pitches the novel into the dark depths of Ireland's civil war and the antiwoman proscriptions on sexuality of the national regime Joyce famously called priestridden. Barry weaves together Grene's and Roseanne's stories, which are ultimately the same story, masterfully and with intense emotionality that nevertheless refuses to become maudlin. Another notable part of Barry's artistry is the sheer poetry of his prose, now heart-stoppingly lyrical, now heart-poundingly thrilling. An unforgettable portrait of mid-twentieth-century Ireland. -- Monaghan, Patricia (Reviewed 05-15-2008) (Booklist, vol 104, number 18, p20)
  • With this work, renowned Irish playwright Barry furthers his reputation as a great novelist as well. Set in a Roscommon mental hospital, the novel centers on 100-year-old Roseanne McNulty, who secretly records her life in a hidden journal. In sometimes painful detail, she describes a heartbreaking childhood in Sligo, affected triumphantly and tragically by events unfolding in the world beyond: two world wars, the emergence of the Irish Republic, and the often devastating influence of the Catholic Church on the lives of people in need. Her entries alternate with the writings of Dr. William Grene, a kindly if distant psychiatrist attempting to assess Roseanne's mental health. For both, writing is revelatory. Their stories beautifully unfold like blooming roses, breathtakingly revealing the ties that bind them. The prose is rich, and Barry's gift for description and especially dialog are considerable. Readers familiar with Barry's work will recognize people and places from other novels, notably the protagonist of The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty , who plays a tenderly rendered key role in this highly recommended title.—J.G. Matthews, Washington State Univ. Libs., Pullman --J.G. Matthews (Reviewed June 15, 2008) (Library Journal, vol 133, issue 11, p53)
  • A subtle study of psychology, religion, family and politics in Ireland.This is not, as the title might suggest, another Da Vinci Code clone. Barry (A Long Long Way, 2005, etc.) writes vigorously and passionately about his native land. The story is told antiphonally, alternating narratives between a secret journal (hidden beneath the floorboard) kept by Roseanne McNulty, a patient in a mental hospital, and the "Commonplace Book" of her psychiatrist Dr. Grene, who's dealing with serious issues of grief after the death of his wife. Roseanne has always been something of an outsider, her father a cemetery-keeper and rat-catcher but most importantly a Protestant in a land largely hostile to this religious orientation. Although Roseanne remembers a happy childhood, in which she was the proverbial apple of her father's eye, he becomes involved in the political and military entanglements of Irish political life. When Roseanne grows up, she becomes the wife of Tom McNulty, but through a series of misunderstandings—as well as through the machinations of the grim-faced and soul-destroying priest, Fr. Gaunt—she is as good as accused (though falsely) of adultery with the son of a political rebel. Out of malice toward Protestants as well as out of a misplaced moral absolutism, Fr. Gaunt has her marriage annulled—and, using nymphomania to explain her "condition," has her locked up in the asylum. Dr. Grene gets interested in her story as well as her history, and in tracking down her past he finds a secret that she has kept hidden for many years, a secret that affects them both and that intertwines their families. In a final assessment of Roseanne—after she's spent decades in the asylum—Dr. Grene determines that she is "blameless." She responds: "'Blameless? I hardly think that is given to any mortal being.'" Indeed, blamelessness is a state no one achieves in this novel.Barry beautifully braids together the convoluted threads of his narrative. (Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2008)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
262413
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1955-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Barry, Sebastian
Dewey number
823/.914
Index
no index present
LC call number
PR6052.A729
LC item number
S43 2008
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
Sligo (Ireland : County)
Target audience
adult
Label
The secret scripture : a novel, Sebastian Barry
Instantiates
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
22 cm
Edition
First American edition.
Extent
300 pages
Isbn
9780143115694
Lccn
2007041716
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Note
Imprint varies.
System control number
  • 174040289
  • (OCoLC)174040289
Label
The secret scripture : a novel, Sebastian Barry
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
22 cm
Edition
First American edition.
Extent
300 pages
Isbn
9780143115694
Lccn
2007041716
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Note
Imprint varies.
System control number
  • 174040289
  • (OCoLC)174040289

Library Locations

    • James City County LibraryBorrow it
      7770 Croaker Road, Williamsburg, VA, 23188, US
      37.377573 -76.770995
    • Williamsburg LibraryBorrow it
      515 Scotland Street, Williamsburg, VA, 23185, US
      37.377573 -76.770995
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