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The Secret Scripture: A Novel Paperback – April 28, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Much at work in Roseanne's life is a priest, Father Gaunt, a man invested in his own arrogance and misogyny, who visits his hatred and mistrust of women on the innocent Roseanne. It is through Gaunt's efforts that Roseanne's marriage to Tom is ruined, no one of consequence to protect the girl, left staggering at the blows fate has dealt. Having been institutionalized for over half her life at the time she writes her memoirs, the remarkable thing about this character, as so beautifully rendered by Barry, is her inherent generosity of spirit and disinclination to harsh judgment of those who have wronged her. And while Roseanne is writing of her father and her marriage, Dr. Grene is charged with determining the future placement of his patient, Roscommon soon to be vacated and completely demolished.Read more ›
I never forgot it, and now that my time is coming and my own skin thinning, I understand exactly what she meant.
This novel about the enduring power of the human spirit in the face of unrelenting tragedy and betrayal, struck me to the heart. I found it incredibly moving and was riveted to the page.
There is something about being a survivor that wounds you, takes away whole pieces of you, but despite the pain and horror, makes each small aspect of life a triumph. For Rosanne, it was the daffoldils and the roses, and the sunlight on her window pane, for others, a sunset, the pleasure of an ice cream cone in summer, the smell of just cut grass. I saw a fox in the dark night when I was driving through the village last week; it had another small animal in its mouth, trotting merrily past the pavement in front of me. I had never seen a fox before. I felt so lucky, so deliriously happy, to have seen it, as Rosanne felt with the new opening daffoldils from her window in the assylum.
To see this beauty and feel this intense pleasure in ordinary things is a triumph over the brutality and ugliness that living in society can bring, as is the ability to retain one's humanity - kindness, compassion, understanding, empathy. To see the world in a grain of sand....Read more ›
In dark and gorgeous language Barry tells the story of an old woman, Roseanne McNulty. From childhood Roseanne was set on a path that inexorably led her to stray outside the strict conventions of 1940s Ireland. Unwittingly, she becomes the victim of a merciless society bent on rigid conformity and determined to exact its revenge on those who flout its dictates. For those whose picture of Ireland in the "old days" is one of rose-covered thatched cottages, the revelation that so much pain resided behind the walls of many of those dwellings may come as an unpleasant surprise. But those of us who have lived in Ireland and particularly have witnessed its relatively recent confrontation with so many of the dark secrets of its past, Roseanne's tale has the gut-wrenching but undeniable claim of authenticity.
Barry summons the voice of Roseanne perfectly. As the narrative gradually shifts from Roseanne to the psychiatrist, Dr. Grene, who has tasked himself with the mission to discover the elusive truth about Roseanne's past, Barry also captures Grene and his mid-life turbulences beautifully. This is not a plot-driven novel which is just as well: my only complaint is that I found the plot, such as it is, to require some hard work by the reader in suspending disbelief. But it is a minor matter in a book that concerns itself with issues such as history, mercy and the very nature of truth. In the end, Barry's characters eloquently present the argument that redemption is indeed possible.
I stongly recommend this book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very well-written and engaging, an unusual subject full of psychological depth. I couldn't put it down!Published 4 days ago by Sandy Hotchkiss
Found it hard to put down and could'nt reall say one part was better than the other .it was all good.Published 7 days ago by David Doyle
The back and forth between decades and centuries, so involved with tragedy, heartfelt love, loneliness, pain. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Linda J Tecce
Brilliantly rendered; could not put it down, which meant missing my subway stop for three days running. Still haunted by the story and looking forward to re-reading it.Published 1 month ago by Atticus
Although the pace of this book is slow at places, primarily due to a words-for-words-sake paradigm, it still held my interest.Published 1 month ago by Cynthia Davies Cunha
This novel tells the fascinating story of the long, rare life of one Irish woman. Roseanne is singularly lonely from the first to the end, starting as a friendless, only child,... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Della
I read this for a book club, found it very slow for my liking although the ending was goodPublished 4 months ago by Anna Roque