Thursday, 17 March 2011

Long Time, No See

So I just completed my first 'Early Reviewers' book - Long Time, No See by Dermot Healy. The blurb on the back describes him as 'the finest prose writer at work in Ireland today' and describes the book as 'A novel about community, family, love and bonds across generations, Long Time, No See is an epic in miniature, peopled by a cast of innocents and broken misfits, its still lyrical power casts a miraculous literary spell.'

The dialogue is hard to penetrate - and whereas books like Clockwork Orange or The Inheritors suck you in - I felt like this book was aiming for something more Pinter-esque with apparently unrelated and banal dialogue meant to convey emotion, drama and depth. If it wasn't for Early Reviewers, this would have been a five-page-rant book. But I persevered - and so I got to know the characters and events. It passed the time and there were moments of lyricism, but I wasn't sucked into a sense of place or time, I didn't care that much about the characters, and the plot didn't really work for me. 

If I were to recommend it to anyone, I'd go for someone who knows and likes the countryside/life in a small community, and someone who's up for a slightly slower read and happy to sift through the dialogue to appreciate the drama and character sitting behind it.

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