[[ EBOOK ]] ☠ A Long Long Way ↡ PDF eBook or Kindle ePUB free
This novel about the experiences of an Irish private during WW1 didn t really engage me until about the half way point when it did massively improve Firstly, I felt the author bluffed his way a bit through WW1 sacrificing detail to abstractions, which meant I never quite felt myself in the boots of a private on a WW1 battlefield And the grandiose biblical Hemingwayesque prose style dwarfed the characters for me, turned them into puppets which maybe was clever as what else were all those young men who lost their lives in that daft war Like Days without End the characters were for me the weakest part of the novel Again, Barry chooses as his focus a good natured blank canvas of a character, Willie again, he tends to idealise and sentimentalise relationships That said, in the second part of the novel, I did begin to warm to Willie s relationships with his male mentors his father, his commanding officer, his Sergeant Major and Father Buckley, the chaplain He also has a sweetheart who inflicts on him a kind of Old Testament punishment for a misdemeanor which shows brilliantly the gulf between her domestic reality and his nightmare frontline reality As a backdrop, the novel also dramatises the Irish rising for Home Rule This was nicely done However, I m not sure it really added anything to my understanding of WW1 or the Irish problem Essentially, it s a story about one young man s loyalties and loves with a thunderous historical backdrop rather like Days Without End in other words I enjoyed it, but I don t think it ll live long in my memory.
[[ EBOOK ]] ↝ A Long Long Way ↬ Irish Author And Playwright Sebastian Barry Has Created A Powerful New Novel About Divided Loyalties And The Realities Of WarIn , Willie Dunne, Barely Eighteen Years Old, Leaves Behind Dublin, His Family, And The Girl He Plans To Marry In Order To Enlist In The Allied Forces And Face The Germans On The Western Front Once There, He Encounters A Horror Of Violence And Gore He Could Not Have Imagined And Sustains His Spirit With Only The Words On The Pages From Home And The Camaraderie Of The Mud Covered Irish Boys Who Fight And Die By His Side Dimly Aware Of The Political Tensions That Have Grown In Ireland In His Absence, Willie Returns On Leave To Find A World Split And Ravaged By Forces Closer To Home Despite The Comfort He Finds With His Family, He Knows He Must Rejoin His Regiment And Fight Until The End With Grace And Power, Sebastian Barry Vividly Renders Willie S Personal Struggle As Well As The Overwhelming Consequences Of War 5 A sorrowful, gut wrenching tale of the horrors of WWI and the boys who went off to fight for King and Country hoping to come into their bloody manhood at last The author expertly leads the reader through gruesome warfare in the trenches with beautiful prose and likable but doomed characters The dawn and horror of chemical warfare makes its deadly debut The gas boiled in like a familiar ogre With the same stately gracelessness it rolled to the edge of parapet and then like the heads of a many headed creature it toppled gently forward and sank down to join the waiting menThe evil gas lay sown in the trench like a bedspread, and asgas came over it filled the trench to the brim and passed on then its ghostly hordes to the support lines and the reserve lines, ambitious for choice murders That s just the beginning as Barry will not spare the reader the horror that comes and I do not use that word lightly Young boys from Ireland are fighting only to learn that at the same time others back home are battling for Home Rule during the Easter Rising They will arrive home on leave only to be thought traitors worth killing by some and then return to the front forkilling of their own.Deserving of 5 stars but the subject matter and inevitable outcome sucked the life right out of my soul Based on my emotional state it rates the 1 star I did not like it but the writing, the writing, the writing I have never read a better book on the devastation of war and I never want to read another one like it ever.Afterwards Imagineif they had a war and no one showed up It just confounds me how many generations of young men have been willing to forfeit their precious lives and others continue to manufacture and use such malevolent weapons to this day Unbelievably I saw a promotional video Men of War MUSTARD GAS for online gaming Perhaps guys like the one who commentedGood job Can you make a poison thrower, just like the flame thrower That would be very coolshould read this book gladofmywomanhood bookslikethisbreakmyheart Certain mental images can be a little too vivid When it comes to WW1, the permamuck of the trenches, the seared throats from deadly gases, and the pants soiling horror of seeing a comrade s detached body parts inches away are associations powerful enough to shut us down There s only so far we can extend our comprehension in the face of palpable terror So how does a good author milk it a little , getting us past the autonomic desensitization and back into the boots of shared experience In Sebastian Barry s case he creates a character so earnest and eager to please that he seems custom built as an empathy magnet The fully realized inner life of Willie Dunne the 18 year old central figure, a Dubliner gone off to fight England s war combined with a fascinating account of the politics of Irish Home Rule made for quite a story It was beautifully written, too Barry deserved his acclaim, short listed for a Booker.Willie loved and respected his father, a policeman and loyal supporter of the crown At 5 6 tall, Willie was not allowed to join his 6 6 da in the police force Sir Francis Galton s regression to the mean effect overshot in this case Aching for respect, Willie signed up to fight the Germans in the name of the King The word was that Irish Home Rule would be granted after these volunteers fought in common cause alongside the English Willie also had to leave his girlfriend behind along with his youthful innocence It didn t take long after the grand send off to realize what we all already knew war sucks Barry s descriptions were realistic and mortifying We re made to care about the men evenfor getting to know them as people real, sentient beings with personalities and aspirations A scene that really got to me was one where some middle ranking, tough as nails guy named Christy, seemingly against type, had a soft spot for music He was temporarily at peace with the world when Willie sang Ave Maria.Willie was given furlough for the Easter holiday It was a short, happy stay, but there was a massive confusion just as he was reporting back gunshots, and not ones coming from Germans It was the Easter Rising of 1916 where Irishmen who wanted Home Rule faster andassuredly than England would likely deliver rose up against them Willie and his fellow soldiers were asked to quell the uprising Our politically na ve protagonist had his eyes opened The remainder of the book had new conflicts to add to a mix that already seemed saturated with them Willie s ambivalence about the English cause didn t set well with his father Sentiment in Ireland had swung against the Dublin Fusiliers that Willie felt duty bound to stick with to the end Nor did the English command give them much respect I wanted to tell a certain Major Stokes to stick it in his hole when he said, What, you Irish couldn t stand a little gas And as if that wasn t enough, our young hero had girl troubles, too The worst part of it all was how little of it Willie deserved He was such a good kid.Stories like this need to end the way authors want them to with readers reading their books to find out, not with overzealous reviewers spilling the beans The only thing I ll add is that an emotional involvement on the reader s part is likely.On a personal note, my wife and I celebrated our 30th anniversary with a trip to Ireland The love of literature there, and of words in general even away from the pubs was one of the great things about the place They enjoy their history, too, with plenty of it around to engage them We learned a lot about the Easter Rising visiting the General Post Office where much of the rebellion took place Later we saw Kilmainham Gaol where many of the rebel leaders were imprisoned and in some cases executed.The gaol has been featured in several films including The Italian Job the original one , Michael Collins, and In the Name of the Father U2 also filmed a video there, with Bono looking very much like a man of the 80s.4.5 stars A long long way written by Sebastian Barry was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2005 and tells an amazing and extremely well written story.This is the third novel I have read by Barry and have to say he is fast becoming one of my favourite writers.This is the story of Willie Dunne who at the age of eighteen is too short to follow in his father s footsteps and become a policeman in Dublin but who is old enough to volunteer and fight for England in World War 1 ,and so Willie leaves behind Dublin, his family and the girl he plans to marry to enlist in the allied forces in the Great War, partly to prove himself a man and please his father At the time of the first world war there was an understanding among the Irish people that Ireland would gain Home Rule within the coming few years and young men like Willie Dunne took up the cause to fight for King, Country and Empire against the Germans in the hope that this would further their cause while another section of Irish refused to fight for England and they instead took up Arms in the Rising of 1916 in Dublin to gain Irish freedom While Willie Dunne and the Dublin Fusiliers suffer abroad, Dublin City is suffering during the Easter Rising and men like Willie Dunne and his comrades are thought of and regarded as traitors by their fellow countrymen Having recently visited Kilmainham Gaol where the executions in May 1916 of fourteen of the leaders of the failed 1916 Easter Rising took place and having the tour information and pictures of the executed men fresh in my head I was emotionally and factually ready for a novel of this depth.This is a tough read and certainly not for the faint hearted so if you get put off by horrific scenes of war and vulgar and brutal happenings then this is not the novel for you but this certainly is account of war that that takes you right into the trenches with young Willie Dunne and his comrades and you experience a teensy tiny bit of their fear and their anguish and the squalor and the camaraderie of the men who both fight and die side by side.A 5 star rating for me and a book that will stay with me. It s a long way to TipperaryIt s a long way to go.It s a long way to little Mary To the sweetest girl I know Goodbye, Piccadilly,Farewell, Leicester Square It s a long way to Tipperary,But my heart s right there.World War I, the Great War as it was then known, has produced some outstanding novels recounting the horrific, mind numbing, dehumanizing experiences of common soldiers locked in the death grip of trench warfare In the past year I have read two of those books Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden andFear by Gabriel Chevallier and reread another All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque These stories are told from the perspective of three different nationalities Canadian, French, and German, respectively but they share the common theme of ignoring grand strategy and spending little time on tactics, while devoting most of their attention to the common soldier And the experiences of the soldiers in the trenches, no matter their nationality, differed very little.True, I had read a great deal about the French and the Germans in that conflict, and not as much about the Canadians, but A Long Long Way was truly a learning experience.I had never given much any thought to the Irish role in the war, and in fact little has been written about it I knew about the Irish revolt, what came to be called the Easter Rising, against the British in 1916, but I had never stopped to consider the fact that at the same time there were Irish soldiers in the British army fighting for King and Country and Empire A Long Long Way is the story of those Irish soldiers, particularly through the eyes of Willie Dunne, who joined the army at age seventeen They were young men who were placed in a no win situation Some were devoted loyalists to king and country, while others favored home rule for their land while both joined the British army to fight the Germans, their long range goals differed Unfortunately, the English, on one hand, perceived them all to be potential or even actual mutineers while the Irish nationalists on the other hand considered them all to be traitors for serving in the British army Laura Barber writes in The Guardian Willie, and the men like him, went to war not so much to fight against the Germans, but to fight for their country, only to find that the most deadly enemy came from their own side and that the Ireland they had grown up believing in had dissolved behind them like sugar in the rain Like the other three books mentioned earlier, A Long Long Way is a story of horror and heartbreak, with the most graphic description of horrific poison gas attacks that I have ever read in a work of fiction or nonfiction In other words, like all great war novels, it is an anti war story Threatened as we are today by war after war and by the knee jerk, unexamined beliefs that take us there, it is books such as A Long Long Way that can force us to examine not only our own beliefs, but to reflect on the beliefs of those that we choose to lead us Sebastian Barry was first and foremost a poet and a playwright before becoming a novelist and it shows in his prose good general or bad, everything ended always in the ghastly tally of wrenching deaths His head was heavy now, sore as a boxer s, he wanted to have the matter explained to him, he wanted God Himself to come down to where they were talking there, and tell them what could be set against the numberless deaths, to stop their minds inwardly weeping, like cottages without roofs in a filthy rain Through the character of Willie Dunne Barry allows us not so much to imagine the war as to inhabit it, and in doing so, he has created a modern masterpiece The Boston Globe With disarming lyricism, Barry s novel leads the reader into a hellish no man s land, where the true madness of war can only be felt and understood rather than said The Observer The best book I ve read in a handful of years.I was moved, beyond words, by the lyrical beauty of the prose in this novel, and by the way it shredded every sentimental thought I d ever had about the First World War the sentimentality of bravery and morality and justice and incorruptibility Barry s book created fresh wounds within me, and healed them later within the same paragraph, only to create a general ache and heartbreak for an entire generation that was lost Our young protagonist was born in the dying days of an old century, mewling his way into a stormy night that was neither spectacular, nor noteworthy In these words, Barry presages the manner in which our young man will find his way out of this life Neither spectacular, nor noteworthy, yet Willie Dunne s death, encapsulates the monstrous expenditure of youth and vigour and potential that all went to hell in the fields of Flanders.Barry has managed, somehow, to put into prose Wilfred Owen s Anthem for Doomed Youth What passing bells for these who die as cattle Only the monstrous anger of the guns Only the stuttering rifles rapid rattleCan patter out their hasty orisons.No mockeries now for them no prayers nor bells Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs, The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells And bugles calling for them from sad shires.What candles may be held to speed them all Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyesShall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes The pallor of girls brows shall be their pall Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,And each slow dusk a drawing down of blinds.Within the length of a novel, he has managed to retain every punch to the head, heart, stomach, that the original poem delivers, and still retain the impact of the original.While Barry also manages to explore the percussion beat of the Easter Uprising, and deal handily with the implications of Irish men fighting as English soldiers, the novel nonetheless remains as a universal condemnation of war, and does not sink into partisan politics, for the sake of it There is always the bigger question looming above the heads of all whatever nationality why are we here at all Addendum While it took me a week to read unheard of for books I love it was a book I could neither put down, nor read in one gulp I resented every minute that I was away from it, and at the same time found myself reading slowly when I did pick it up, savouring every word, pondering every thought, stopping for long pauses between sections, or even paragraphs, to fully appreciate what Barry was saying An astounding book It should be as a must read in army training camps, and in every high school in the world A simple message, delivered simply and beautifully, with the impact of a sledgehammer. On completion I thoroughly loved this book I finished listening to it and was desperate forI re listened to the last chapters Then I thought, I simply cannot leave this book I searched to see what other books Sebastian Barry has written This is the first of a trilogy followed by first Annie Dunne and then On Canaan s Side I read what these books were about The central theme of these books diverge they are not about WW1 And this is the topic that I wantof So I checked out The Absolutist and even listened to the narration at Audible Again I felt let down John Cormack s narration of A Long, Long Way had been superb, The snippet of The Absolutist just could not compare Was it the narrator that I had fallen in love with I listened to other books narrated by Cormack..but they were not what I wanted to listen to either And here I sit, feeling desolate and sad, because I wantof the same I want Cormack s narration and Barry s prose I don t want to leave the camaraderie of the troops in the trenches of Belgium, near Ypres Isn t it utterly strange that I do not want to leave the battlefields of WW1 That is the truth of the matter, strange as it may seem.None of the other books I have read about WW1 have moved me as this has I believe I understand what that warfare was like It was horrible When the war ended, it didn t really end All who lived through it would never be the same To understand the war itself you must look further than the blood and bombs and gas and grime and lice and all the physical horror of it There is stillThere was also what the soldiers shared with each other This is something very hard to comprehend to those of us who have not fought in wars This book shows you how the soldiers intimately depended, needed and relied on each other I am so shaken by the ending that I don t know what to say I have no complaints There is nothing I would change about this book.How do I sum up my feelings This book has beautiful lines, and they are lines filled with meaning, imparting a poignant message This is a book about WW1 and a book about Ireland s place in that war Excellent writing by Barry Excellent narration by Cormack Read with Barbara and Dawn Here follow links to their reviews so you can follow our discussions Dawn thoughts, as I read, are added below Through chapter 6, part one This is excellent The writing is superb For me how an author chooses and lines up his words is very important The Irish dialect and dialogs are spot on And I love how horrid stuff is mixed with beauty and camaraderie and humor All of it seems genuine The narration, audiobook by John Cormack, has such oh so perfect Irish This narrator has to be added to my favorites list, at least for Irish literature.Through part one I have yet to read a text that so brilliantly describes mustard gas The first time the yellow fog crept along the ground the soldiers had no idea what it was Their fear and their instinctive horror engulfs the reader Then imagine their fear when they know its consequences and it s used again and again and again This is frightening to read To the end of part one Imagine fighting a war for country and family, only to discover that at home your efforts are not appreciated Originally the Irish went off to war in the belief that Home Rule would follow at the conclusion of the war But then there broke off a splinter group that opposed any fighting done for the King, the oppressor, he who stood in the way of Home Rule They wanted guarantees of Home Rule before they would do any fighting for the English king In Dublin, Irishmen were fighting and killing Irishmen It became a civil battle between the Irishmen themselves Those, such as Willie Dunn, fighting and dying in Flanders, were despised Try and imagine how this would feel As if the war itself wasn t enough Barry adds this to the horrors of the trench warfare in Belgium Yes, we are fighting, but for what ETA To understand this history I had to listen to one part over and over again This is the only portion of the book where the dialect caused me some confusion I am not sure if the language was cryptic, if I was being obtuse or if quite simply I was was obstinately demanding a thorough explanation of the historical events all summed up in one short dialog I have this need to thoroughly understand the historical facts I am satisfied The historical context is made a bit confusing because Willie is terribly confused and cannot comprehend why the Irish are fighting the Irish when he goes to Dublin on furlough In chapter eight Two things I would like to praise Again, Barry highl Irish conflict in the war The Irish rarely were given high positions in the army They were judged on another scale He showed the English disdain for the Irish men when Willie is sent to headquarters with a message from his captain after a gas attack The dialog really ripped me apart and made me want to punch some of those English, particularly Major Stoker I am guessing at the spelling Again I must explain how much I like the writing style, particularly the brogue of the men in the trenches and the total lack of melodrama There is a level tone, a distance to how the events are related This lack of melodrama makes the horror of the war seem even worse because you realize these are the true events with not a smidgen of exaggeration There is a tinge of irony, disgust of human folly Yes, Willie admitted, when the officers said that the little Irishman stunk,indeed he had soiled his trousers Due to fright This could be admitted Anyone who had been in the trenches during the gas attack must acknowledge the blatant truth.Through chapter fourteen and part two Chapter fourteen is moving, grim and a very difficult portion to read.This is trench warfare with all its gore and horror Tell me, Barbara and Dawn, how you react to this chapter Willie wished, as he marches forward under the exploding bombs of both enemy and friendly fire, that he were provided with blinkers as a horse on the road The sights and smells and cacophony were so overpowering Here follows a short quote How easily men were dismembered How quickly their parts were un stitched What this war needed were men made of steel..The hopelessness of it all struck him with force No one man had done anything but piss his trousers in terror.I admire the privates and their captain who must lead these men forward Barry even throws in the absurdity of all the papers these captains must fill in He has captured so many aspects of warfare The filth, the food, the camaraderie, the desolation, fear and even bureaucracy These are my thoughts as I read this chapter. This was short listed for the 2005 Man Booker I m certain it will be among my top five reads of 2008.It s the story of a young Irish soldier caught between the warfields of Belgium and the battle raging at home between the royalists and the nationalists It s the most graphic and revealing treatment of WWI I ve encountered particularly of trench warfare and the horrors of mustard gas It amazes me that anyone survived and sickens me how hundreds of thousands of young men were simply led to slaughter by colluding governments.Despite the grim brutality of the subject, the writing is so lyrical and beautiful, the characters so full of hope and spirit Portions of it read almost like poetry, yet the language is simple and earthy.I was frustrated by the glimpses of the 1916 Easter Uprising and the conflict that set Irish against Irish as if the reader already had a tacit understanding of that history and its nuances I was confused as to who was on which side in Ireland but then again, that was is the tragedy of the conflict in Ireland the division of a country was really the division of villages, friends and families.But bottom line it s an incredible book, devastating and beautiful I cried at the end, even though I knew what was coming And I cried for the lives that were lost, and for those who continue to be sacrificed in the name of power, greed and moral certainty War is inexcusable. This was really successful in its description of life in the trenches Barry conveys the futility of war just as clearly as Tolstoy did in War and Peace, but through the innocent thoughts of a bottom rank soldier instead of via the experiences ofprivileged upper class individuals Willie Dunne is credible and likeable and that allows the reader to stick with him even when the descriptions of the day to day conditions of life in the trenches become unbearable There are some wonderful and memorable portraits of other soldiers too the sargent from Cork, the gunner from Mayo, the army chaplin and severalI particularly liked the way Barry wove the 1916 events in Dublin through the larger story of WW1 The story worked less well for me when Barry tried to inject some melodrama by means of Willie s sweetheart in Dublin She was too sketchy a character, a paper and ink doll who failed to stand up, and the plot Barry built around her didn t seem credible to me I have had a similar experience with other Barry books his need to add extra plot twists can sometimes spoil an otherwise great reading experience.