3.46 (1,391 ratings by Goodreads)
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A love story set in Northern Ireland. For Cal, some of the choices are simple. He can work in an abattoir that nauseates him or join the dole queue; he can brood on his past or plan a future with Marcella. From the author of LAMB and GRACE more

Product details

  • Paperback | 160 pages
  • 126 x 192 x 14mm | 40.82g
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • New edition
  • forms transparencies
  • 0140108106
  • 9780140108101

Review Text

Any aspiring novelist knows there are certain subjects which a publisher is loathe to take on. This is the story of a young man Cal, who is caught up in the troubles of 1970s Ulster. Although he is involved in acts of violence, Cal is shown to be just as much a victim as others. Like many of his contemporaries, he suffers through lack of opportunities. The only job that comes up is in an abattoir, and he just doesn't have the stomach for it. There is much to be learned from this book, such as how strong religious convictions can tear apart a community. Those who are prepared to accept people for what they are often suffer for their complacency. Cal and his widowed father, Shamie, are the only Catholic family left on their estate. They live in constant fear. Then Cal meets the lovely Marcella and his life takes an even more complicated turn. Marcella has been widowed through an act of violence. Against this backdrop of unrest evolves a tender love story, which helps to dissipate the sheer hopelessness of their lives. A novel from the author of Grace Notes, shortlisted for the 1997 Booker Prize, which resonates and stays with the reader long after reading the final chapter. (Kirkus UK)show more

Rating details

1,391 ratings
3.46 out of 5 stars
5 16% (228)
4 34% (472)
3 33% (456)
2 13% (185)
1 4% (50)
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