Sunday, January 01, 2012


On Canaan's Side

By Sebastian Barry

It’s about an eighty nine year old Irishwoman writing her life story in the days before her death in America. It’s about Ireland and running away to America in her teens, living the best part of her life there, loving the land without ever totally understanding it, without ever being able to forget the one she came from, loving the men in her life and never completely understanding them either, her husbands and son and grandson, each of them so utterly beloved, yet in some way so utterly incomprehensible.

It’s a gentle book. Noteworthy is the Irishness pervading it in language, in imagery, in distinctiveness. Nothing much else really. Gentle and a bit vapid and a bit forgettable.