Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Book Review -The Secret Scripture
The other day, I finished reading The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry. Honestly, through the first couple of chapters, I was kinda bored, but then slowly, it sucked me in, until by the last couple of chapters, I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. The writing was beautiful, and you could actually see Ireland through the main characters eyes. There were times when tears sprung to my eyes at what Roseanne was going through, as well as times when I got so angry at the priest that my hands began to shake.
If you like historical fiction, beautiful writing, or an old mystery, then you should definitely pick up this book.
The latest from Barry (whose A Long Way was shortlisted for the 2005 Booker) pits two contradictory narratives against each other in an attempt to solve the mystery of a 100-year-old mental patient. That patient, Roseanne McNulty, decides to undertake an autobiography and writes of an ill-fated childhood spent with her father, Joe Clear. A cemetery superintendent, Joe is drawn into Ireland's 1922 civil war when a group of irregulars brings a slain comrade to the cemetery and are discovered by a division of Free-Staters. Meanwhile, Roseanne's psychiatrist, Dr. Grene, investigating Roseanne's original commitment in preparation for her transfer to a new hospital, discovers through the papers of the local parish priest, Fr. Gaunt, that Roseanne's father was actually a police sergeant in the Royal Irish Constabulary. The mysteries multiply when Roseanne reveals that Fr. Gaunt annulled her marriage after glimpsing her in the company of another man; Gaunt's official charge was nymphomania, and the cumulative fallout led to a string of tragedies.