On Canaan's Side: A Novel

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Penguin, Sep 8, 2011 - Fiction - 272 pages
28 Reviews
Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, a mesmerizing new novel from the award-winning author of The Secret Scripture. Sebastian Barry's latest novel, Days Without End, is now available. 

A first-person narrative of Lilly Bere’s life, On Canaan’s Side opens as the eighty-five-year-old Irish émigré mourns the loss of her grandson, Bill. Lilly, the daughter of a Dublin policeman, revisits her eventful past, going back to the moment she was forced to flee Ireland at the end of the First World War. She continues her tale in America, where—far from her family—she first tastes the sweetness of love and the bitterness of betrayal.

Spanning nearly seven decades, Sebastian Barry’s extraordinary fifth novel explores memory, war, family ties, love, and loss, distilling the complexity and beauty of life into his haunting prose.


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - jack2410 - LibraryThing

An autobiography written by a nearly 90 year old lady. We are reading it as she is writing it and reliving her life. She immigrated to America in her teens from Ireland with her husband to be. It was ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - gayla.bassham - LibraryThing

I think this is Barry's best book. Beautifully written and a real page-turner to boot. My only criticism is that sometimes I got so caught up in the gorgeous prose that I forgot to pay attention to what was happening. Read full review


First Day without Bill
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About the author (2011)

Sebastian Barry was born in Dublin in 1955. His plays include Boss Grady's Boys (1988), The Steward of Christendom (1995), Our Lady of Sligo (1998), The Pride of Parnell Street (2007), and Dallas Sweetman (2008). Among his novels are The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty (1998), Annie Dunne (2002) and A Long Long Way (2005), the latter shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. His poetry includes The Water-Colourist (1982), Fanny Hawke Goes to the Mainland Forever (1989) and The Pinkening Boy (2005). His awards include the Irish-America Fund Literary Award, The Christopher Ewart-Biggs Prize, the London Critics Circle Award, The Kerry Group Irish Fiction Prize, and Costa Awards for Best Novel and Book of the Year. He lives in Wicklow with his wife Ali, and three children, Merlin, Coral, and Tobias.

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