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Troubles (New York Review Books Classics) Paperback – October 31, 2002
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— Times Literary Supplement
A tour de force … sad, tragic, also very funny.
— The Guardian
Farrell wrote superbly; all his books had a quality that hallmarks great literary talent—he could “do” texture. This album—which is what Troubles feels like—records the same Anglo-Irish as Elizabeth Bowen knew and belonged to. As with Bowen, this feels like the real thing (which is all a novel has to do). Always judge a writer by his grasp of what he doesn’t know: Farrell died young yet his old people are almost his best creations.
— Frank Delaney, The Guardian
About the Author
John Banville was born in Wexford, Ireland, in 1945. He is the author of many novels, including The Book of Evidence, The Untouchable, and Eclipse. Banville’s novel The Sea was awarded the 2005 Man Booker Prize. On occasion he writes under the pen name Benjamin Black.
Top Customer Reviews
Edward Spencer, a conservative Protestant loyalist, runs a decaying 300-room hotel on the coast of County Wexford. Regarding himself as a benevolent landowner, he nevertheless demands total submission of his tenants and the signing of a loyalty oath to the King. His ironically named Majestic Hotel, lacking maintenance during the war and its aftermath, is now too costly to repair. When British Major Brendan Archer, newly released from hospital, arrives at the Majestic to reintroduce himself to his fiancée Angela, daughter of the proprietor, the reader quickly sees the Majestic as the symbol of a faded aristocracy which has outlived its usefulness. The windows are broken, the roof is leaking, and decorative gewgaws and balconies are hanging loosely, threatening to crash. Walls, floors, and even ceilings, are swelling and cracking from vegetation run wild, and the hotel's ironically named Imperial Bar is "boiling with cats," some of which live inside upholstered chairs and all of which subsist on a diet of rats and mice. Irish rebels live just outside the hotel's perimeter.
With wry humor and a formidable talent for description, Farrell conjures up nightmarish images of life in the hotel, selecting small, vivid details to make the larger thematic picture more real.Read more ›
A thousand mushrooms crowd to a keyhole."
"A Disused Shed in Co. Wexford". Derek Mahon.
Irish poet Derek Mahon dedicated the haunting poem quoted above to J.G. Farrell, author of "Troubles". It is a marvelous poem that pays tribute to an absolutely marvelous book; one of the finest books I have read in recent memory.
Farrell, born in Liverpool in 1935 is best-remembered for three books. "Troubles", "The Siege of Krishnapur" (which won Farrell the U.K.'s 1973 Booker Prize), and "The Singapore Grip". Shortly after publication of "The Singapore Grip" Farrell moved to Ireland. He died a few months later when, apparently while fishing, he was swept out to sea and drowned, at age 44. Each of these three books, known collectively as the "Empire Trilogy, is set during a time of crisis in what was once the British Empire. "The Siege of Krishnapur" is set in India during the Indian Rebellion of 1857 and "The Singapore Grip" is set in Singapore at the beginning of World War II at the time of the Japanese attack and occupation of Singapore.
"Troubles" takes place in the Irish countryside in 1920, at the height of the turbulence that resulted in the creation of the Irish Republic and the eventual partition of Ireland. The protagonist, the English Major Brendan Archer, is a survivor of the Great War. Upon his demobilization Archer decides to travel from his home in London to Ireland in order to finalize his relationship with Angela Spencer, a young lady he met and perhaps became engaged to, while on leave during the war. Angela's father runs what was once a grand hotel, The Majestic, and Archer finds himself immediately swept up in the collapse of what was once a thriving Anglo-Irish community in Ireland.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A terrific historical novel, set in revolutionary post WWI Ireland. Narrated from Irish Ascendancy point of view.Published 17 days ago by anne kane
The story seemed long, but each time I began to read, I was lost in the events and absorbed in the characters. We lost a writer with whom I would have continued.Published 3 months ago by Annie Hendrix
TROUBLES is a distinctive, and mildly disconcerting, novel. It is set in the fictional town of Kilnalough, in the County of Wexford, on the southeast coast of Ireland. Read morePublished 8 months ago by R. M. Peterson
Many reviews already written of this fine novel set during the time of "The Troubles" in Ireland. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Cphe
I was completely absorbed by this novel and have purchased the next two in the trilogy. Farrell's writing is muscular and energetic; he never lost me or bored me, but kept me... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Isobel M. Shapiro
A slow moving but profound portrait of how conflict develops. The place is Ireland, the time is the beginning of the 20th century, and the opponets are the Catholics and the... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Valeria Szigeti