Regular readers of this blog will know that I am a fan of Sebastian Barry. He tells a great story and his writing is accomplished and beautiful. But it was Pat Barker’s Regeneration trilogy, that led me to A Long Long Way. Her books kindled my interest in the First World War and make me keen to read more.
There are not too many accounts of Irish men who fought in the Great War so Barry’s novel appealed to me on more one level. Of course that period of time is also a very significant in Irish history and the interweaving of the two themes adds to the interest, particularly for Irish readers.
As in The Secret Scripture, memory and history are interwoven in A Long Long Way. Barry is an excellent writer and this novel is one of my favourites. If you are interested in reading about the First World War and have not already come across Sebastian Barry or Pat Barker, I would suggest starting with Barry and moving on to Regeneration.