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Everything in This Country Must: A Novella and Two Stories Paperback – March 7, 2001
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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.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
For the same reason, Northern Ireland is a difficoult subject for good writers. That's why you can find many interesting non-fiction books, but really few good novels.
With "Everything in this country must" Colum McCann proves once again to be a great writer. While reading it, I was nearly overwhelmed by emotions. And I was amazed by both the simplicity and the effectivness of his writing.
It's a little book, just 150 pages. You could read it in two hours. But because it's a great book I would suggest you to read it very, very slowly, enjoying every word, every line, every emotion. And in so doing, may be you happen to realize that McCann is deceiving all of us: he writes poems disguised as short stories.
I can't think of a single part of this book where I wasn't completely mesmerized by both the intelligent way the characters and plots weren't handling in an intelligent and poignant manner.