Reading in the Dark Paperback – 1997
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Top Customer Reviews
Seamus Deane, born in Derry, Northern Ireland in 1940, and now a professor at the University of Notre Dame, rescues his first novel from this downward spiral with his ability to transform stereotypical storylines into shattering new tales. Deane masterfully subverts the IRA theme of glory and honour; of fighting and dying for Ireland. He gives us the story of the narrator's Uncle Eddie, introduced as an IRA hero who either escaped from or was killed in a shoot-out with Protestant policemen, but who has not been seen or heard from since.
Deane plays with this contrived, glorious IRA getaway story, tempting the reader to take the anecdote at face value, to romanticize Eddie as a hero. He then inserts a twist -- we learn that Eddie does not have a hero's reputation outside of his family, but is seen as a police informer, a "stooly," by the Catholic community. This reputation stains Eddie's entire family, including the nephew that he never met.Read more ›
anthologist of Irish literature. Reading in the Dark, however, is his
first novel. It is both a triumph of literature and of the human
spirit; one of the most beautiful books anyone could ever hope to
Deane, like James Joyce, is a writer who cannot be separated
from his native Ireland. Reading in the Dark is the first-person
narrative of a boy, who, like Deane, grew up in Derry in the 1940s and
1950s. Although the dust jacket says this book is a novel, it reads
more like a beautiful, meditative and intensely personal memoir. We
are never told the boy/narrator's name, but there are many named
characters in the book: Ellis, Una, Dierdre, Liam, Gerard, Eamon.
There is an Uncle Manus and an Aunt Katie. Additonally, the place
names serve to identify this as an unquestionalby Irish book, taking
place in Derry.
The structure of Reading in the Dark is deliberately
jagged but never jarring. There are short chapters that are further
divided into ever shorter episodes. We are introduced to all of the
narrator's many borthers and sisters but only one, Liam, becomes a
major character throughout the course of the book. The other
characters deliberately come and go and some are even forgettable,
while others are not.
The first vignette is dated "February
1945" and the last "July 1971." All the other vignettes
fall within this time frame. But Derry, the reader must remember, is
in Northern Ireland, where the past can never really be separated from
the present.Read more ›
through the 70's. Made the Booker Shortlist. Delicately weaves folktales
and stories into the boys own story
and his families secret. The writing is wonderful and the style and command
of language, and at times subject matter, is reminiscent of Joyce's "Portrait
of an Artist." I'm looking forward to the next book by Seamus Deane.
Reading in the Dark is a story of ghosts, of legends, and most of all, of secrets...Irish secrets. The narrator, whose name we never learn, struggles to unravel the truth of those secrets and as he does, he learns what it really means to grow up in Northern Ireland, surrounded by the shadows of political turmoil.
Although I really didn't identify with any of the characters in this book, I found them very engrossing and came to care about them deeply. Some of the characters are quite well-fleshed out while others remain only fragments of the author's imagination. Most make only brief appearances in the novel, although one, Liam, shares the spotlight with the unnamed narrator.
Reading in the Dark is a different sort of coming-of-age story. It is beautiful, lyrical, brutal and truly unforgettable. And truly the work of an Irish mind.
Most recent customer reviews
Reading in The Dark
By: Seamus Deane
This is a young adult fiction novel.
This Book takes place back in the 1940's and finishes in the early 1970's. Read more
Seamus Deane has added another fine book to the amazing collection of novels looking at Ireland and the Irish in the twentienth century. Read morePublished on May 4 2001 by Ricky Hunter
Seamus Deane has brilliantly crafted a powerful account of the Northern Irish struggle in a most unique way. Read morePublished on Jan. 9 2001 by Bernard
One of the best, ever. It was dark, moody, true. It had a lot of love in it. I appreciated the way the protagonist loved his parents and showed us, fairly and steadily, their... Read morePublished on Dec 27 2000
The first time i read the book, I was less than enthused. Though most of the charecters were thoroughly developed I thought that it lacked a sufficient plot. Read morePublished on Dec 11 2000 by Wendy Kallery
Seamus Deane writes very descriptive and intersting work. He is a renound poet, and his first novel reglects that. The book is beuatifully written. Read morePublished on Dec 9 2000 by Chelsea
I read this book for a class, and it was truely one of the best books I've ever come across, (it made me cry- no small accomplishment)! Read morePublished on Sept. 24 2000 by Cordelia
This novel is a lyrical masterpiece. It gives the reader a window through which to view life in Ireland. Read morePublished on Aug. 13 2000 by Cory Knauss
this book just moved me it just touched me words can not descride how i felt after i read the last words of this book.Published on Aug. 9 2000 by dooleys