The trees bent down to the river in a whispering and they hung their long shadows over the water and the horse jerked quick and sudden and I felt there would be a dying, but I pulled the rope up to keep her neck above water, only just.As Katie and her father work, quickly, hopelessly, she fills in the gaps: the shame she feels at being slow, how her mother and brother were killed. In her eyes, all nature is alive and witness to the mare's dying, "since everything in this country must"--the connections are everywhere. The connections between humans, however, are not. When six British soldiers, "all guns and helmets," smash through the hedgerow to help, her father would rather sacrifice his horse than be grateful to the enemy. And even after one man risks drowning to rescue the horse, despair at the past destroys the present.
Though there is no overt death in McCann's second story, "Wood," the unsaid and the unsayable cast a pall over another family. After his father has a stroke, Sam and his mother must work by night in the family mill, making poles for banners for a political march. Despite their attempts at silence, the two are discovered, and this time the natural world seems somehow complicit in Ireland's factional wrath: "I looked at the oak trees behind the mill. They were going mad in the wind. The trunks were big and solid and fat, but the branches were slapping each other around like people."
Katie and Sam still have the capacity for wonder that has been worried out of their parents. McCann's third child, however, does not. In "Hunger Strike," a mother and son have gone from north to south for safety, a move that fills the 13-year-old with resentment. One gesture of kindness too many and he'll explode. Much has been made of the fact that in this collection McCann has confronted the Troubles for the first time. Equal attention should be paid to his exquisite, elemental narration--you never know which word will come next, and you're always desperate to find out. --Kerry Fried --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
That's why you can find many interesting non-fiction books, but really few good novels.
The characters and settings simply jump out of the pages at you and make you see so vidly everything that the author is attempting to convey.
McCann's work is filled with subtlety and original crisp images that are culled with attention to detail.
"Everything in this Country Must" is a fabulous short story. Proof that English language realism is not dead. A work of towering proportions.Published 7 months ago by Michael G Strom
I have read other of McCann's books and liked them all. In this book, his utilization of the problems of Northern Ireland and their affect on families in general and children in... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Newmoon7
the title story is amazing, as is hunger strike. also, unlike some of mccann's longer works, the stories are relatively straightforward and are therefore more visceral in an... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Max