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The Resource The secret scripture : a novel, Sebastian Barry

The secret scripture : a novel, Sebastian Barry

Label
The secret scripture : a novel
Title
The secret scripture
Title remainder
a novel
Statement of responsibility
Sebastian Barry
Creator
Author
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
  • "When she was a young woman, Roseanne McNulty was one of the most beautiful and beguiling girls in County Sligo, Ireland. Now, as her hundredth year draws near, she is a patient at Roscommon Regional Mental Hospital, and she decides to record the events of her life." "As Roseanne revisits her past, hiding the manuscript beneath the floorboards of her bedroom, she learns that Roscommon Hospital will be closed in a few months and that her caregiver, Dr. Greene, has been asked to evaluate the patients to decide if they can return to society. Roseanne is of particular interest to Dr. Greene, and as he researchers her case he discovers a document written by a local priest that tells a very different story of Roseanne's life from what she recalls. As doctor and patient attempt to understand each other, they begin to uncover long-buried secrets about themselves."
  • "Set against an Ireland besieged by conflict, The Secret Scripture is an epic story of love, betrayal and unavoidable tragedy, and a vivid reminder of the strangle-hold that the Catholic Church had on individual lives throughout much of the twentieth century."--BOOK JACKET
Storyline
Tone
Writing style
Award
  • Costa Novel Award, 2008.
  • Costa Book of the Year Award, 2008.
  • James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction, 2008.
Review
  • /*Starred Review*/ From the first page, Barry's novel sweeps along like the Garravogue River through Sligo town, taking the rubbish down to the seas, and bits of things that were once owned by people and pulled from the banks, and bodies, too, if rarely, oh, and poor babies, that were embarrassments, the odd time. We are in the head and the journal of 100-year-old mad Roseanne McNulty, locked up for decades in an asylum in rural west Ireland. She has begun writing her life story, hiding it nightly beneath her bedroom's creaking floorboards. Simultaneously, her putative therapist, Dr. Grene, who barely knows her, much less her history or prognosis, begins an observation journal about her. The asylum is to be downsized, and he must determine whether she is sane enough to live on her own. He attempts to reconstruct the reasons for her imprisonment, as it turns out to be, and that pitches the novel into the dark depths of Ireland's civil war and the antiwoman proscriptions on sexuality of the national regime Joyce famously called priestridden. Barry weaves together Grene's and Roseanne's stories, which are ultimately the same story, masterfully and with intense emotionality that nevertheless refuses to become maudlin. Another notable part of Barry's artistry is the sheer poetry of his prose, now heart-stoppingly lyrical, now heart-poundingly thrilling. An unforgettable portrait of mid-twentieth-century Ireland. -- Monaghan, Patricia (Reviewed 05-15-2008) (Booklist, vol 104, number 18, p20)
  • With this work, renowned Irish playwright Barry furthers his reputation as a great novelist as well. Set in a Roscommon mental hospital, the novel centers on 100-year-old Roseanne McNulty, who secretly records her life in a hidden journal. In sometimes painful detail, she describes a heartbreaking childhood in Sligo, affected triumphantly and tragically by events unfolding in the world beyond: two world wars, the emergence of the Irish Republic, and the often devastating influence of the Catholic Church on the lives of people in need. Her entries alternate with the writings of Dr. William Grene, a kindly if distant psychiatrist attempting to assess Roseanne's mental health. For both, writing is revelatory. Their stories beautifully unfold like blooming roses, breathtakingly revealing the ties that bind them. The prose is rich, and Barry's gift for description and especially dialog are considerable. Readers familiar with Barry's work will recognize people and places from other novels, notably the protagonist of The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty , who plays a tenderly rendered key role in this highly recommended title.—J.G. Matthews, Washington State Univ. Libs., Pullman --J.G. Matthews (Reviewed June 15, 2008) (Library Journal, vol 133, issue 11, p53)
  • A subtle study of psychology, religion, family and politics in Ireland.This is not, as the title might suggest, another Da Vinci Code clone. Barry (A Long Long Way, 2005, etc.) writes vigorously and passionately about his native land. The story is told antiphonally, alternating narratives between a secret journal (hidden beneath the floorboard) kept by Roseanne McNulty, a patient in a mental hospital, and the "Commonplace Book" of her psychiatrist Dr. Grene, who's dealing with serious issues of grief after the death of his wife. Roseanne has always been something of an outsider, her father a cemetery-keeper and rat-catcher but most importantly a Protestant in a land largely hostile to this religious orientation. Although Roseanne remembers a happy childhood, in which she was the proverbial apple of her father's eye, he becomes involved in the political and military entanglements of Irish political life. When Roseanne grows up, she becomes the wife of Tom McNulty, but through a series of misunderstandings—as well as through the machinations of the grim-faced and soul-destroying priest, Fr. Gaunt—she is as good as accused (though falsely) of adultery with the son of a political rebel. Out of malice toward Protestants as well as out of a misplaced moral absolutism, Fr. Gaunt has her marriage annulled—and, using nymphomania to explain her "condition," has her locked up in the asylum. Dr. Grene gets interested in her story as well as her history, and in tracking down her past he finds a secret that she has kept hidden for many years, a secret that affects them both and that intertwines their families. In a final assessment of Roseanne—after she's spent decades in the asylum—Dr. Grene determines that she is "blameless." She responds: "'Blameless? I hardly think that is given to any mortal being.'" Indeed, blamelessness is a state no one achieves in this novel.Barry beautifully braids together the convoluted threads of his narrative. (Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2008)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
262413
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1955-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Barry, Sebastian
Index
no index present
Literary form
novels
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
Sligo (Ireland : County)
Label
The secret scripture : a novel, Sebastian Barry
Instantiates
Publication
Control code
000043177204
Dimensions
22 cm.
Edition
1st American ed.
Extent
300 p.
Isbn
9780670019403
Label
The secret scripture : a novel, Sebastian Barry
Publication
Control code
000043177204
Dimensions
22 cm.
Edition
1st American ed.
Extent
300 p.
Isbn
9780670019403

Library Locations

    • Lionel Bowen Library and Community CentreBorrow it
      669-673 Anzac Parade, Marouba, NSW, 2035, AU
      -33.938111 151.237977
    • Malabar Community LibraryBorrow it
      1203 Anzac Parade, Matraville, NSW, 2036, AU
      -33.962293 151.245961
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