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The Walk Home: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Rachel Seiffert
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $25.95
Kindle Price: $11.84
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Historical Fiction
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Book Description

Stevie comes from a long line of people who have cut and run. Just like he has.
Only he’s not so sure he was right to go. He’s been to London, taught himself to get by, and now he’s working as a laborer not so far from his childhood home in Glasgow. But Stevie hasn’t told his family—what’s left of them—that he’s back. Not yet.
He’s also not far from his uncle Eric, another one who left—for love this time. Stevie’s toughened himself up against that emotion. And as for his mother, Lindsey . . . well, she ran her whole life. From her father and Ireland, from her husband, and eventually from Stevie, too.
Moving between Stevie’s contemporary Glaswegian life and the story of his parents when they were young, The Walk Home is a powerful novel about the risk of love, and the madness and betrayals that can split a family. Without your past, who are you? Where does it leave you when you go against your family, turn your back on your home; when you defy the world you grew up in? If you cut your ties, will you cut yourself adrift? Yearning to belong exerts a powerful draw, and Stevie knows there are still people waiting for him to walk home.
An extraordinarily deft and humane writer, Rachel Seiffert tells us the truth about love and about hope.

This eBook edition includes a Reading Group Guide.  

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

When one’s own home town ceases to feel like home, trouble sets in. And trouble, or more precisely, the Troubles, have been displacing Graham and his family since his grandfather, Papa Robert, was forced out of Ireland a generation ago. Although Graham and his extended family now live in Glasgow, he holds fast to the family pride as a drummer for a marching band. It is during Graham’s first annual Protestant Orange Walk that he meets Lindsey, a young runaway from Northern Ireland, and it’s not long before Lindsey is pregnant. After Stevie is born, Graham tries to help Lindsey improve their lives, but when a militant loyalist gets interested in the band, Graham falls back into that life, a decision that will destroy his marriage, estrange his parents, and alienate his young son. In this vividly atmospheric, achingly poignant, and sharply provocative tale, British novelist Seiffert (Afterwards, 2007), whose many honors include an E. M. Forster Award, sharply appraises the tenuous bonds that draw families together and the deeply held convictions that can drive them apart. --Carol Haggas


Deftly drawn and perceptively observed Daily Mail Exquisitely pared down prose by a writer who really feels for her characters and the tainted lives they are living Glasgow Herald Captivating ... further proof of Seiffert's enviable talents as a writer Daily Telegraph Intelligent and sophisticated ... a sharp-eyed look at one corner of modern Europe in flux The Times Brilliantly compelling and powerful work, told in beautiful, lean prose The Economist Seiffert's writing is both tightly controlled and almost orchestral in its sweep. You feel every emotion deeply Irish Independent Deeply moving ... As heart breaking as it is heart warming, this delicate and powerful novel will stay with you long after the final page Irish Examiner Seiffert has a superb ear for language ... full of intelligence, heart and compassion Scotland on Sunday Unsparing, thoughtful and immaculately researched ... Seiffert has a fine ear for Glasgow speech and an even better eye for images ... a rich, nuanced portrait of a changing community ... beautifully, sparely rendered Guardian The soul of The Walk Home, Rachel Seiffert's new novel, is its setting, Glasgow. The city's streets, housing schemes and tenement blocks provide not merely a backdrop, but history, colour and life Financial Times

Product Details

  • File Size: 3356 KB
  • Print Length: 306 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 030790881X
  • Publisher: Pantheon (July 8, 2014)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00HTM9P2G
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #259,609 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Walking through some dark places... April 12, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
When issues related to the working class communities of Glasgow are tackled - in my experience more often in cinema than literature (in Red Road, in the films of Ken Loach and Peter Mullan) - it's to depict sordid situations of drugs, alcohol, poverty, abuse, deprivation and street violence (Mullan's brilliant 'Neds' being the hardest-hitting of all). Rachel Seiffert's The Walk Home deals with similar ground-level issues, but from a perspective of a community that rarely has a voice in UK literature - the working class loyalist Protestant and Orange communities living in the schemes of greater Glasgow in places like Drumchapel.

Rachel Seiffert made her mark with The Dark Room (filmed as Lore) and The Way Home similarly deals with social upheaval, family troubles and absent parents, but the subject seems closer to home this time and the situation rather more complex. The focus is divided between Graham and Stevie (the connection between them soon becomes clear), Graham meeting Lindsay, a young 17 year old girl, while playing with his Drumchapel Orange Lodge band in Co. Tyrone in Northern Ireland. When the girl turns up pregnant in Glasgow, the young couple try to make a go of starting a family and keeping it together, but old traditions, the past and family troubles prove hard to put behind them.

Surprisingly, or perhaps not, Seiffert doesn't wallow in the misery and there's precious little conventional violence in The Way Home. The violence is of different kind, the kind inflicted on families and individuals who strive to better their lives and escape from the trappings of the past and their community. A lot is left unsaid, but suggestions and implications are left open, in particular with relation to Lindsey's family in Northern Ireland.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tribalism May 7, 2014
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I expect most other ratings of this novel to be three stars or less, not because Rachel Seiffert is bad -- on the contrary, she is very very good -- but because the combination of her delicate understatement and the unfamiliar social enclave within which she writes will mean that many readers will not get the point of her story at all. And the enclave is indeed a small one: the Ulster Protestant diaspora in working-class Glasgow. Even the dialogue takes a bit of getting used to: "A braw lassie wae red hair doon tae her bum, missus. Nothin tae dae wae us." (A pretty girl with red hair all the way down her back, nothing to do with us.)

But it so happens that this touches my own life in a couple of places. I grew up in Northern Ireland, and the Orange parades were a festive feature of the July scene, with their banners and sashes, fife bands and big painted Lambeg drums. I did not then see it as a dangerous manifestation of Protestant tribalism aimed to intimidate the Catholic minority; it was simply the mythology that the boys in my dormitory used to share in stories after lights out. Many years later, I moved to Glasgow for the first five years of my professional life, and was surprised to find the Ulster rivalries being played out in proxy by the supporters of the two football teams, Rangers and Celtic, with the same bands and symbols and almost equal aggression, though stopping short of bombs and kneecapping. I lived in a distinguished crescent in the University area, but it was impossible to ignore the hooliganism fomented by the misguided creation of huge housing projects on the fringes of the city. Drumchapel, where Seiffert's novel is largely set, was one of the worst.

Her novel plays out in two time frames.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Family plus historical conflict=complicated lives January 5, 2015
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Family. The most complicated and difficult and rewarding of relationships. This is an exploration of an unconventional family in an unconventional place: Northern Ireland after the Troubles. A time when people still have their battle lines drawn even if years have passed. Where a simple marching band is not a simple marching band, when it has to do with the Orangewalk.

You may want to bone up a bit on Irish History, specifically the Troubles circe 1970, that "Ulster" is what Ireland used to be called, that the North is Protestant and the actual region of Ireland is mainly Catholic. That England has supported Northern Ireland to the result of the IRA and resistance that affected ALL parts of Ireland. That bombings that took place were not always by the IRA, and that England bears it's share of responsibility for the senseless deaths of many.

Into this mess is the family of Lindsey and Graham, a pair of newlyweds with a somewhat supportive family, making their new home on the planning "scheme" that is being built (basically a tenement section). Distant family is never truly distant and hard feelings always exist. Seeing Stevie grow up is touching as you can tell Lindsey and Graham are decent folk. But the complexities of the past taint their future.

I deeply enjoyed this but partly because I took a semester of Irish Studies in college. Some may get confused at the drama that exists. If you can spare a moment to hit Wikipedia or Google the region and the conflicts, much will be made easier to understand.

I like that the author Seiffert grasps all the subtle distinctions of family, even the appeal of those we can't stand.

Lovely book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars The Very Very Long Walk Home
Rachel Seiffert's "The Walk Home" might have been re-titled "The Very Very Long Walk Home. Read more
Published 13 hours ago by Lee Armstrong
2.0 out of 5 stars Needed some editing.
Stevie comes from a long line of people who have cut and run. Just like he has.

Only he’s not so sure he was right to go. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Tonya Speelman
4.0 out of 5 stars conflict, loss, and the nature of home
The Walk Home by Rachel Seiffert is a highly recommended novel set in Glasgow about conflict, loss, and the nature of what is a home. Read more
Published 4 months ago by she treads softly
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Supurb dialog.
Published 5 months ago by E.B. Wilson
2.0 out of 5 stars Not my cuppa
Try as I might, I could not attach to either the characters or the plot. I gave it three goes, and could not complete.
Published 6 months ago by K. L. Cotugno
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent story about people who exhibit a wide range of very human characteristics.
Published 7 months ago by BioBob
3.0 out of 5 stars There are some good passages -- the events leading up to the departure...
This novel never really takes off. It's supposed to be set against the background of the Troubles in Ireland, but it's twice removed from them -- once by geography (it takes place... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Robert Lacey
4.0 out of 5 stars When Will You Walk?
I was really pleased to get this book through Amazon Vine. Last year I saw the film Lore and was interested enough to get Rachel Seiffert's The Dark Room from the library which... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Lynn Ellingwood
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
This book, set in Glasglow, feels like it would perhaps make for a better audiobook experience than an armchair one. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Yolanda S. Bean
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but sometimes difficult to keep up with
This tale of a dysfunctional family in Glascow is fairly interesting. But it is rather confusingly told in two time periods. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Neal Reynolds
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