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Old God’s Time
by Sebastian Barry
faber & faber
Written in Sebastian Barry’s trademark poetic Irish style, Old God’s Time is a dreamy, haunting novel in which nothing is quite as it seems.
Recently retired policeman Tom Kettle is settling into the quiet of his new home, a lean-to annexed to a Victorian castle overlooking the Irish Sea. For months he has barely seen a soul, catching only glimpses of his eccentric landlord and a nervous young mother who has moved in next door. Occasionally, fond memories return, of his family, his beloved wife June and their two children, Winnie and Joe.
But when two former colleagues turn up at his door with questions about a decades-old case, one which Tom never quite came to terms with, he finds himself pulled into the darkest currents of his past.
Love, memory, grief, and long-buried secrets… Old God’s Time is about what we live through, what we live with, and what may survive of us.
[A] sublime study of love, trauma, memory and loss . . . What elevates this novel is Barry’s sustained, ventriloquial, impressionistic evocation of a unique living consciousness . . . The ending is a tour de force of transcendent power and complexity. I don’t expect to read anything as moving for many years. —The Guardian
“Few contemporary writers have done more with the natural resource of Irish English, or with the buried tensions at the heart of Irish identity, than [Barry]. . . What’s striking about Old God’s Time is the scrupulous realism that Barry brings to his outlandish premise—and his guileful refusal ever to clarify what kind of novel we are reading . . . Barry’s [prose is] casually exquisite. – The New Yorker
a meditative, mournful masterpiece, with the pace of a whodunnit.—Sunday Times
Barry masterfully explores the ‘deep deep chaos’ of Tom’s perforated soul with poetry, poignancy, and a splash of indignant rage. The classic crime-story chestnut—a mothballed cop yanked back into action—becomes a parable of grief and theological anguish, a contemporary Irish answer to the book of Job. —Booklist