Short listed for the Man Booker Prize, 2008.
Nearing her 100th birthday, Roseanne McNulty faces an uncertain future, as the Roscommon Regional Mental Hospital where's she spent most of her adult life prepares for closure. Over the weeks leading up to this upheaval, she talks with her psychiatrist, Dr. Greene, and their relationship intensifies and complicates.
Told through their respective journals, the story that emerges is at once shocking and deeply beautiful: a secret history of Ireland's changing character and the story of a life blighted by terrible mistreatment and ignorance.
©2008 Sebastian Barry; (P)2008 Oakhill Publishing
"The Secret Scripture"
This is a truly extraordinary book and one which will live on with you long after you have finished reading it. The beautiful, descriptive narrative just unfolds the further you enter into the story. I also thought the reader's voice was perfect, at times beguiling in keeping with the text and at other times sounding as distressed as the key characters. It is also a really clever book, I had no idea where it was going to go next and actually I was happy to be taken along wherever it went. It is also a shocking story however and one which troubled me in the sense of man's capacity to do untold harm to others and to have control of their lives. Deeply, deeply moving and one of the most powerful books I have listened to in years. I have recommended it to everyone! - probably to the point of being annoying - a wonderful woderful book.
This is a beautifully crafted book, and it captures that rural Irish perception of beauty. It is also beautifully read, capturing the soft lilt of the west Irish brogue. "A terrible beauty"! For within lies the brutality of war, the oppression of rigid morality, and the confusion of truth and memory.
"Love this book"
Really loved this story and couldn't put it down. It took me two days to finish this one and the ending was not what I expected, really great. Would definately recommend this book.
"A wonderful book, in every way"
Sometimes you read - or listen to - a story that you know will always remain in your mind. This is one such story. Laden with almost unbearable sadness and dread at where the writer is going to take you - I spent the last hour of listening in tears but didn't want the story to end. Was the ending a happy one? I think so. Beautifully read, with real empathy for the characters.
This has been one of my favourite audiobooks to date. I was kept fasinated from beginning to end and I felt I got insight into the lives of the characters. Definitely recommend.
I enjoyed this book immensely. I was captivated both by the story itself, and the lyricism of the writing. The phrasing feels emphatically Irish, very poetic. The different narratives of the central characters knowingly offer their own slant on events, sometimes questioning the veracity of their own words and acknowledging that their perspective is personal. The narrator is utterly believable, and lovely to listen to. I enjoyed this novel so much, I bought several copies of the paperback for friends and relations, and read it myself again too. One I will keep going back to.
"A story which promotes some soul searching"
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was a bittersweet account of the memories of a 100 year old woman recounted in flashbacks to the Doctor who was checking on her background and why she had been placed in a secure mental home for the past 50 years or more. The author conjured up pictures of Ireland in the early and mid 20th century and the hardships endured by a population of differing religious faiths and backgrounds. I particularly liked the way she remembered her father and the man she loved and how she was betrayed by her husband's father whilst her mother in law seemed to take pity on her but was too frightened to go against her own husband's wishes. Also I enjoyed the relationship she developed with Dr.Green and the not quite unexpected twist at the end of the story. A really good read. I will now look for other books by this author.
""... I had my 4 dresses on , i was cosy...""
I could have screamed at Roseanne for the way she allowed every man to control her life but actually her character stayed true throughout the book and sometimes even content at the smallest joys. And yes, Helenbunter it does seem farfetched for a woman to wait 8 years to find out her fate but this only goes to show the absolute power of the catholic church and it's priests in Ireland during this period. After all , how do you hide years of abuse? With total control over your unquestioning flock. A great book with many wonderful lyrical passages and descriptions of Sligo.
"The Most wonderful story ever told"
This is a book of untold strength and wisdom. It is intriguing, a story I could listen to again and again.
This is a haunting story of a woman whose life was taken out of her own hands for no reason other than the ignorance and closed mindedness of the age she grew up in. As she reflects on her life you begin to realize how lucky you are to live in the 21st century and how many lives were destroyed in the past merely for having an alternative personality or just not living life to the strict code laid down by others. The narrator is also fantastic and he captures the atmosphere of the story perfectly I think. This is definitely a story you will think about long after you finish listening to it.
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