Book - 1998
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"Set in the Northern Ireland of the 1980 s, Cal tells the story of a young Catholic man living in a Protestant area. For Cal, some choices are devastatingly simple- he can work in an abattoir that nauseates him or join the dole queue; he can brood on his past or plan a future with Marcella. Springing out of the fear and violence of Ulster, Cal is a haunting love story that unfolds in a land where tenderness and innocence can only flicker briefly in the dark."
Publisher: London : Vintage, 1998, c1993
ISBN: 9780099767114
Characteristics: 153 p. ; 20 cm


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Feb 28, 2009

Both lyrical and bleak, this story captures the protagonist's hopeless choices in the harsh and divisive world of Northern Ireland. The narrative voice has the flat affect of a person who is both shell shocked and cannot believe he is really capable of or deserving of love or even respect. Yet even with that flatness, that voice is still very moving. When Cal does find love, it is complicated by layers of seemingly unsolvable circumstances that leave the reader wondering and hoping to the last sentence ...

Aug 14, 2008

A book recommended by author Anita Shreve, I tried it out and was glad I did. It was different in subject matter from what I usually read. Political but ordinary in viewpoint as it's told from the point of view of a young Irish man. As I usually like moral dilemmas, this one certainly had one that got me thinking!


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Feb 28, 2009

Sometimes in her presence he felt like Quasimodo - as if the ugliness of what he had done showed in his face. The brand in the middle of his forehead would never disappear and seemed to throb when she was near. Alone, now, he relaxed into his ugliness. To hell, why not? If he could not take her like Sleeping Beauty then he could ravish the things which surrounded her. His impotence was something he could smell and touch.

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