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On Canaan's Side

On Canaan's Side - Sebastian Barry When I started this book I just read the first 30 pages and did not get back to it until the next day and when I picked it up again I was hooked and could not put it down I really enjoyed this novel. I had previously read The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry and loved it so was looking forward to this book.

This book is long listed for the Booker Prize and tells the story of 89 year old Lilly Dunne's departure from Ireland with her boyfriend Tadg who was a member of the Black and Tans and the IRA have a price on his head. This departure from Ireland takes place shortly after the first world war and tells the story of Lilly's new life in America. The story opens with the death of Lilly's grandson Bill and from here Lilly remembers back on her life in Ireland and America and her adventures include fake identies, the IRA, betrayal, love, loss and hope. Each chapter is narrated by Lilly as each day slowly passes since the burial of her grandson Bill and she remembers her life as she has lived it.

The prose in this book is beautiful and the story is really well told. The first 30 pages of this Novel I was a little fazed as to where the story was going but after the initial first couple of chapters the story flows and I could not put it down. There is a lot in this book and so much that Barry leaves to the imagination. Quite a few issues come up in the book and are not fully explained or dealt with by Barry but I feel that is how real life is and perfer this sort of novel than one where all the loose ends are tied up as this is not a protrayal of real life and I love the fact that Barry leaves plenty to the imagination in this book. This is a short novel and a very easy read.

Ok! then why the 4 starts?(would have given it 4.5 if I could) I did not understand or like how the novel ended, and I can not get it out of my head !! I am looking forward to other readers opinions and I think there will be plenty!! Did Barry do this on purpose? Perhaps, as I can imagine this aspect of the book will make for a great Bookclub discussion and I for one will be putting my vote on this book at my next bookclub meeting.

To sum this book up a great read, a real page turner and a great bookclub read.