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Long Time, No See Hardcover – July 5, 2012

4.3 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Praise for Long Time, No See

“A grand read, funny and provocative…tenderness and affection win out despite gunfire, despite ancient jealousies and grudges.” —Annie Proulx, The Guardian

“Funny, sad, wild, tender, profound, brilliant…Ireland’s finest living novelist.” —Roddy Doyle

“A family saga bristling with curiously appealing oddballs and misfits.” Entertainment Weekly

“Healy’s first novel in ten years is a triumphant return…A beautiful account of one person’s acceptance of his own quiet heroism.” Library Journal

“Highly stylized, chock-full of colorful dialogue, and steeped in Irish idioms, this is a leisurely read about ordinary folk acting out the dramas that make a life.” Publishers Weekly

“Compassionate and elegiac…a celebration of the whole gift of existence…everyday chores and family obligations are elevated to the level of epiphany.” The Times Literary Supplement

“Unforgettable…Nothing happens, but everything happens. Times passes. People die. It all seems so true to actual life, so tangible and authentic…so real you feel you could step into the book and live there.” The Sunday Independent

“Terrific and exhilarating…Healy’s characters have mouths full of poetry… the poetry of the everyday, laconic, idiosyncratic, and wonderfully droll…Every page is a pleasure to read and the entire book is, as one of Healy’s characters might put it, an astonishment.” The Sunday Times

“A richly compelling comic-sad tapestry of love and death in which, like the pauses in a Pinter play, truth lurks in what’s left unsaid, catching us off guard.” The Independent

About the Author

Dermot Healy is the author of three novels (including A Goat’s Song), a memoir, a collection of stories, and five volumes of poetry. His prizes include the Hennessey Award for Short Stories, the Tom Gallon Award, and the Encore Award. He was the winner of the 2002 America Ireland Literary Award, which was funded by the America Ireland Fund and given in recognition of his contribution to Irish letters.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Viking; First American Edition edition (July 5, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780670023608
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670023608
  • ASIN: 0670023604
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,210,720 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In the field beyond, a magpie stood on a sheep,
on the middle of her back, looking off into the distance,
and the sheep had her head a little off the ground, wondering...
If you like that sentence you'll like this wonderful novel by Dermot Healy
It's a slow luxurious read, atmospheric, poetic, mysterious
I loved the characters, the landscape, the weather
and most of all the beautiful description of the quintessential Irish wake,
not raucous and loud as is the impression here
but quiet and meaningful
This book will live on in my memory
It captured as few do, my imagination
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Format: Hardcover
Long Time No See is a masterpiece of awareness, the flow of sensory perception into the ears and eyes of a contemporary young man on the coast of Ireland. It's Psyche's summer between high school and college, and he's living with his parents in a small coastal village, working odd jobs and tending to his venerable granddad and his granddad's long-time buddy. Those two characters are central to the narrative, and they are no doubt voicing Healy's considerable wisdom of experience.

The reader is hearing and seeing whatever Psyche is hearing and seeing. Voices dominate the sounds. Scenery and people share the sights. Smells and touches come in much less frequently. Healy's technique recalls the first section of The Sound and The Fury, retooled from 'stream of consciousness' to 'stream of perception.' Healy does occasionally allude to personal feelings, but he never trespasses into rational thought processes. The overall effect is a Zen-like awareness, receptive and rather passive. The Zen-ness is highlighted by Gaelic profundities salted into the narrative. Life is a wondrous mystery. (One character says 'mystery' sounds like 'my story.') Awareness is glorious, more than sufficient. Rationality may be fine in its sphere, but satori is not rational.

Other reviewers express dismay at the formatting. Many 'paragraphs' are only one short sentence. It's the way perceptions arrive to your senses. Imagine you are at the scene. You see this, and then your gaze shifts, and you see that. You hear this, and then you hear that. Real conversations are not ping-pong; interruptions of all kinds are common.

Just to niggle, the book is a bit overlong.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Long Time, No See... is the grandest four-hundred pages - in which nothing happens - that you could ever hope to read.

The language is rich, full, and slow: if you're struggling, to paraphrase Robert Capa, you're not moving slowly enough. Read this book out loud, in your best Irish lilt, and you'll begin to settle in. You'll settle in and prefer not to leave, is what will happen.

I once spent sixteen class sessions discussing Joyce' Ulysses, and late in the class, the conversation turned to whether Mr. Bloom was a hero (the adults voted for Bloom as hero), or an anti-hero (his passivity obscured the youth's view). Similarly, one might argue that A Novel In Which Nothing Happens is not a novel, but I'm sticking to my guns. I suppose it's a matter of scale: if you can slow yourself, calm yourself, and become sensitive to the rhythms, this will be a beautiful read. If it's high drama you're after... well, dear, it will be your loss.
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Format: Hardcover
I received this out of the blue from the publishers, and would like to give it a review to match the enthusiastic reception it has garnered from the British press. After all, I grew up in Ireland, have at least some of its sounds in my ear, and am familiar with Donegal, the seagirt county in the northwest where the action is set. The colorful, slightly cartoonish book jacket suggests a rambunctious village comedy, and it is indeed full of wonderful offbeat characters. But this is a sophisticated village in the modern era where the inhabitants drink chablis and pay in euros. The narrator, Phillip Feeney (a.k.a. "Mister Psyche"), may only be a school-leaver waiting to go to college, but he has picked up a good deal of education along the way; this is a smart book.

Unfortunately, I found it almost unreadable. This is because Dermot Healy's greatest asset -- his ear for voices -- is also a liability. Much of the book consists of text arranged vertically on the left side of the page only, as dialogue and description follow one another without any distinction. Here is an example, with the punctuation unaltered:

How come there's a bullet hole in Joejoe's window?
A what?
A bullet hole.
The door of the letter box slapped shut.
Do you hear me in there, roared the father.
The box opened.
There's a bullet hole? asked the Blackbird.
Yes there is.
Did you see it Psyche?
I leaned down.
Yes, sir.
Now begod.

I find so much vertical motion difficult, though younger readers may take it in their stride. To get drawn into a book, I personally need more horizontal continuity. I also need a clearer sense of who is speaking at any time. But in some ways, this is closer to a play script than a traditional novel.
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