Told in the first person, as a narrative of her life over seventeen days, On Canaan's Side is the heartbreaking story of a woman whose capability to love is enormous and whose compassion, even for those who have wronged her, is astonishing.
Sebastian Barry returns with the extraordinary story of Lilly Bere. Forced to flee Ireland with her fiance' as a teenager, under threat of death from the Irish Republican Army, Lilly discovers herself in America. Her rich and tragic life takes her from Chicago, where her fiance' is brutally murdered, to Cleveland, where she marries and finds happiness even as she survives the Great Depression and World War II. Joyfully pregnant at forty-three, Lilly moves to Washington, DC, after her husband mysteriously disappears, where she finds work as a cook for one of the most prominent families in the country. Lilly follows the family to Bridgehampton, and there she raises her son, Ed, who at eighteen is called up to Vietnam and vanishes on his return to America. Mr. Nolan, a close friend, is dispatched to find him and returns from the Smoky Mountain wilderness not with Ed but with Ed's young son, Bill, whom Lilly will raise and adore--until tragedy strikes.
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'As they used to say in Ireland, the devil only comes into good things'. Narrated by Lilly Bere, "On Canaan's Side" opens as she mourns the loss of her grandson, Bill. The story then goes back to the moment she was forced to flee Dublin, at the end of the First World War, and follows her life through into the new world of America, a world filled with both hope and danger. At once epic and intimate, Lilly's narrative unfurls as she tries to make sense of the sorrows and troubles of her life and of the people whose lives she has touched. Spanning nearly seven decades, it is a novel of memory, war, family-ties and love, which once again displays Sebastian Barry's exquisite prose and gift for storytelling.About the Author:
Sebastian Barry was born in Dublin in 1955. His plays include Boss Grady's Boys (1988), The Steward of Christendom (1995), Our Lady of Sligo (1998), The Pride of Parnell Street (2007), and Dallas Sweetman (2008). Among his novels are The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty (1998), Annie Dunne (2002) and A Long Long Way (2005), the latter shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. His poetry includes The Water-Colourist (1982), Fanny Hawke Goes to the Mainland Forever (1989) and The Pinkening Boy (2005). His awards include the Irish-America Fund Literary Award, The Christopher Ewart-Biggs Prize, the London Critics Circle Award, The Kerry Group Irish Fiction Prize, and Costa Awards for Best Novel and Book of the Year. He lives in Wicklow with his wife Ali, and three children, Merlin, Coral, and Tobias.
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