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The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty av…
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The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty

av Sebastian Barry

Serier: McNulty Family (3)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
5311645,518 (3.96)19
Following the end of the First World War, Eneas McNulty joins the British-led Royal Irish Constabulary. With all those around him becoming soldiers of a different kind, however, it proves to be the defining decision of his life when, having witnessed the murder of a fellow RIC policeman, he is wrongly accused of identifying the executioners. With a sentence of death passed over him he is forced to flee Sligo, his friends, family and beloved girl, Viv. What follows is the story of this flight, his subsequent wanderings, and the haunting pull of home that always afflicts him. Tender, witty, troubling and tragic, The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty tells the secret history of a lost man.… (mer)
Medlem:shaunie
Titel:The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty
Författare:Sebastian Barry
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Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
Betyg:*****
Taggar:Ingen/inga

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The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty av Sebastian Barry (Author)

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Published 4 years before "Annie Dunne", "The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty" first appears to be a very different novel. And yet, as you keep reading it, you slowly realize that they are not so different. The structure is different (Annie Dunne relies on flashbacks and filling in of backstories, this novel goes through time linearly) but the story and the characters are similar. It is not a coincidence - just like Annie, Eneas was born with the century in Ireland and lived through two wars, the fight for independence and all the tumult of the changing Ireland. That is the thread that connects almost all of Barry's novels and plays I had read so far - they are his way to tell the history of Ireland by showing us the lives of the people who lived it.

Eneas McNulty never meant anyone any harm. He enrolled in the British Merchant Navy because he was too young to be in the regular one during WWI and in any other time in history, that would have helped him secure his future. But it was not any other time - by the time he came home, Ireland was in the middle of its independence struggle and serving in the British Navy (Merchant or not) did not make Eneas the most popular guy in Sligo. His only choice seemed to be to join the police - and that ended up being the worst possible job for an Irish boy. When the rebels (revolutionaries, independence council - call them what you want) decided to allow him to redeem himself, Eneas refuses their offer - killing a man is not something he is willing to do even if that means a death sentence for himself. So he leaves his family, the woman he loves and Sligo to find his way away from home - from being a soldier to Africa to finding a friend and spending a lifetime alone. The end comes almost unexpectedly and when it does, you want it to be different - because hate seems to always win, even when time should have mellowed it down.

The story of a boy who just wanted to live his life and was forced to seek his luck away from home is heart-breaking. Behind it is the tragedy of a country - the separatism and hate in Ireland during most of the 20th century was not invented and imagined by Barry even if most of the characters in the novel were. Some of its early days are almost forgotten by most people - WWI overshadows these early struggles. Barry tells the story of a man but in a way it becomes a story of a country - and that makes the novel even better.

This is not the first novel by Barry but it is the first that is still in print. It ties to earlier plays and to later plays and novels and becomes a part of the Irish tapestry that Barry weaves through his work. ( )
1 rösta AnnieMod | Jan 3, 2023 |
Sebastian Barry is a conjurer, and he conjures up Ireland, the chaos of the Irish question and the impossibility of living an unpolitical life while suspended between the English and the IRA. Into this maelstrom he tosses Eneas McNulty, a quiet man who would like to live a simple life in Sligo, but who finds himself under the sentence of death by the rebel faction. Eneas lives his life in the shadow of this sentence, haunted by his memories and by nostalgic ties to a place he is barred from forever.

I am in awe of what Barry can do with the complex language that the rest of us sometimes struggle with. He is so fluid and supple, easy and graceful, that I felt I was swimming in a river of words that were pulling me along effortlessly. As in the case of this first kiss,

She takes his face in her hands like a farmer's wife lifting a swede in pride from the earth and plants her mouth on his and in the same moment sucks the life out of him and forces the life into him.

Or this passage that explains the passage of time in a way that I could easily relate to but felt I had never encountered before:

But by the grace of mere time itself or, sometimes, he thinks, the peculiar clock of God, whose divisions seem both unending and brief in the same span, he spends a decade and more at that work, in which to catch the cold fish and douse his brain with the solemn rainwater of stars. It is true that such work repeated and repeated, with its circles of journeys and seasons, weaves a pattern as simple as a country bedspread that gives the years the sensation of brevity.

Eneas McNulty is a very minor, passing, character in Barry’s [b:The Secret Scripture|3419808|The Secret Scripture|Sebastian Barry|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1325714117s/3419808.jpg|3460278], and when I realized there was a book featuring Eneas himself, I knew I wanted to read it. I did not actually expect it to meet the level of [b:The Secret Scripture|3419808|The Secret Scripture|Sebastian Barry|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1325714117s/3419808.jpg|3460278]; I certainly never imagined it might exceed it. This book is among the most affecting books I have read in a long time. I felt the same outrage over the careless ruining of Eneas’ life as I had felt over the unfair incarceration of Roseanne. I drank the words on the page as if I had been served the finest wine, but in a homely coffee mug rather than a crystal goblet.

The story is wistful, plaintive and wholly memorable. It is about wide-ranging, societal questions, but it is also about the individual needs of the ordinary man. What does it mean to have a friend? How quickly does life pass us by and what is its worth if you are just one of the great unwashed?

How quick they come, how quick they go. Friendship. Oh, well. God sails his boats on the pond of the world and at fall of darkness goes off through the rubbed-out roses with the boats under his arms like a fabulous boy. The clock is the terrible high clouds fleeting to some unknown meeting. In the city encircling the park of the world lives are lived quickly, the admired baby soon the dreaming old bastard in the narrow suntrap under the less of the church. Quickly quickly everything goes.

I can attest that life goes more quickly than you can imagine in your youth. I believe it is the most human of all traits to look back at your life and wonder if it has had any impact upon the world or if you will be forgotten in the moment of your passing. And, I believe that one of the strongest pulls on any human being is the pull toward home.

Sebastian Barry has written a literary masterpiece.
( )
  mattorsara | Aug 11, 2022 |
The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty (1998) is the first in a series about the McNulty family of Sligo, and is followed in chronological time (if not in publication history) by The Temporary Gentleman (2014) and The Secret Scripture (2008), which I read in 2008, the year it was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. I realise now that The Secret Scripture would have resonated differently if (like everyone else!) I had read The Whereabouts first… and I also now realise that I read The Whereabouts with knowledge of the fate of one of its characters too. Ah well, I don’t think my reading of either was compromised by reading the books out of order, and I can’t wait to read The Temporary Gentleman as well.

The Whereabouts is a story of a lost man, his life destroyed by the tortuous politics of Ireland. It seems ironic now that the book was published in the same year as the Good Friday Agreement (1998) negotiated by Mo Mowlam, (a remarkable woman to remember on International Women’s Day). It seems ironic because the finale to the novel suggests that old scores are always going to be settled one way or another, and peace in Ireland is a very fragile thing indeed, though the Agreement has held so far for almost two decades…

Eneas as a boy feels an affection for France in peril from the Kaiser. He is too young for the trenches so he ‘takes the King’s shilling’ and joins the merchant navy, only to find himself rejected on his return, when the war finishing was only the signal to the hidden men of Ireland to brew their own war. Eneas finds that it’s a sort of sorrow to him that Jonno Lynch will not greet the old going-about companion of his boyhood.


But there’s worse to come in all manner of things. A long year passes, a long round of weather and eating his mother’s grub. Eneas roams the town asking everywhere and anywhere for a job and finds oh, kindness here and there, but mostly indifferent no’s and even aggression. And gradually Eneas understands that the little rebellion that took place just recent in Dublin and other points, with barely a flare-up in Sligo, barely a flash of fire on the hill, has done nonetheless a great altering in the hearts and minds of the townspeople. (p.54)


To read the rest of my review please visit https://anzlitlovers.com/2017/03/09/the-whereabouts-of-eneas-mcnulty-by-sebastia... ( )
  anzlitlovers | Mar 8, 2017 |
This was a lovely book with a fantastic flow and poetry of language.
It deals with the life a a simple man who gets caught up in the troubles of Ireland and is accused of something he didn't do. He refuses to compromise his beliefs and is placed on a black list as a consequence, being forced to leave home and become a wanderer.
It talks about innocence, the senselessness of revenge, family, homelessness and looks at friendship.
A very worthwhile read. ( )
  quiBee | Jan 21, 2016 |
Sebastian Barry writes the soul of his characters. Amazing! ( )
  Rosareads | Apr 5, 2015 |
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Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Barry, SebastianFörfattareprimär författarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Blaauw, Gerrit deÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Davreu, RobertÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Pérez Viza, AlejandroÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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En wanneer iemand bevonden werd niet beschreven te zijn in het boek des levens, werd hij geworpen in den poel des vuurs

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Following the end of the First World War, Eneas McNulty joins the British-led Royal Irish Constabulary. With all those around him becoming soldiers of a different kind, however, it proves to be the defining decision of his life when, having witnessed the murder of a fellow RIC policeman, he is wrongly accused of identifying the executioners. With a sentence of death passed over him he is forced to flee Sligo, his friends, family and beloved girl, Viv. What follows is the story of this flight, his subsequent wanderings, and the haunting pull of home that always afflicts him. Tender, witty, troubling and tragic, The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty tells the secret history of a lost man.

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