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The Temporary Gentleman

The Temporary Gentleman - Sebastian Barry The Temporaty Gentleman by Sebastian Barry is a beautifully written and yet haunting novel and a potrait of one man's struggles with life and marraige.

Jack McNulty is a "temporary gentleman, an irishman whose commission in the British Army in the Second World War was never made permanent. Jack is haunted by regrets and while in Ghana writes his memoirs of his work and life at home in Ireland with his beautiful wife Mai and how he tries to come to terms with the savage realities of the past, his deamons and his lost love.

I really enjoyed this book very much and loved Barry's beautiful and elegant prose and while the novel may be sad and haunting in places it is the superb writing by Barry that keeps the reader engrossed in the stroy.

I loved the Irishness of this book, the reflections on Irish histroy of Collins and Kittly Kiernan and the names of towns and villages throughout Sligo, Longford and Cavan. Living in the midlands these areas are very familiar to me and enhanced my enjoyment of the story. I also love the way Barry writes about the War of Independence in Ireland and the struggle of of the Irish people in The Temporary Gentleman as he seems to capture the mood of the people of the time.

The characters were realistic and very well drawn but I disliked the character of Jack and while I was intrigued by the character of Mai and wanted to hear her voice in the story this sadly was not to be and yet something makes me think Mai's story will crop up again in another book from Barry. The "dreaded drink " plays a huge part in this novel and we learn how Jack and Mai deal with this demon in their lives and while this may seem disturbing to read, it was such a sad reality for many families in Irish life.

There was liittle if no humor in the book but yet I never found the stroy depressing. I loved some of the passages from the stroy and this one made me smile as it was so true in Irish families and seemed to have been...... " The Irish Divorce of the time'

Because, as if it there were a sort of hidden illness in the McNulty marriages, she (Mai) had stropped talking to me(Jack) directly as Mam had done with Pappy. Maggie was in low babies at school now and full of talk and her first job as a talker was official intermediary between her mother and father"

I really enjoyed this novel and loved to read all the connections with the other books by Barry like [b:The Secret Scripture|3419808|The Secret Scripture|Sebastian Barry|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1325714117s/3419808.jpg|3460278] [b:On Canaan's Side|10266875|On Canaan's Side|Sebastian Barry|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1298269786s/10266875.jpg|15167306] and [b:The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty|137446|The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty|Sebastian Barry|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1347261673s/137446.jpg|1839089] and while this is a stand alone novel I do feel you would need to have some insight into the McNulty family from the other novels in order to understand the story better.

A great book and one that I really enjoyed, but not a book that would suit everyone and therefore I would recommend it to some of my friends but not all.