Cal: A Novel

MacLaverty, Bernard

Published by W. W. Norton & Company, 1995
ISBN 10: 0393313328 / ISBN 13: 9780393313321
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"Bernard MacLaverty's powerful novel is a love story as affecting and tragic as you could want."―USA Today

When it was first published, Bernard MacLaverty's fiction masterpiece was hailed by Michael Gorra in the New York Times Book Review as "a marvel of technical perfection. . . . Cal is a most moving novel whose emotional impact is grounded in a complete avoidance of sentimentality. . . . [It] will become the Passage to India of the Troubles."

For Cal, a Belfast teenager who, against his will, is involved in the terrible war between Catholics and Protestants, some of the choices are devastatingly simple: he can work in the slaughterhouse that nauseates him or join the dole queue; he can brood on his past or plan a future with the beautiful, widowed Marcella for whose grief he shares more than a little responsibility.

Review: First published in 1983, this lyrical novel, superficially straightforward but full of stories within stories, first brought Bernard MacLaverty's work to public attention. In the novel, a young Irish Republican Army operative who wants to break the cycle of violence seeks out a woman whose Ulster policeman husband he helped to murder. As their relationship grows, so do Cal's guilt and sorrow, until, in the end, he is forced to make a sacrifice of himself in order to gain redemption. Rich in ideas and history, this book helps us understand the situation in Northern Ireland--which "is not just there," MacLaverty has remarked, "as a colorful background."

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Title: Cal: A Novel
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: 1995
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: Used: Good

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