Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Out of Print--Limited Availability.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Twenty years a-growing

4.8 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

See all 27 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"
$14.95
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

The Amazon Book Review
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Out of Print--Limited Availability.
click to open popover

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

O'Sullivan here tells the story of his growing up in Great Blasket, a sparse island off Ireland's Atlantic coast with a Gaelic-speaking population. Along with an introduction by E.M. Forster from the original 1933 printing, this edition contains new photos and illustrations by the author.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Review

O'Sullivan here tells the story of his growing up in Great Blasket, a sparse island off Ireland's Atlantic coast with a Gaelic-speaking population. Along with an introduction by E.M. Forster from the original 1933 printing, this edition contains new photos and illustrations by the author. (Library Journal)

It is a summer island of romantic beauty that he shows us, dwelling always on the colour of the scenery and the bright, wild life... (Times Literary Supplement)

This natural and beautiful book brings a breath of sea air and a strange music....It is as alive and sparkling as the sea on a summer morning. (The Observer)

A book to buy, to beg, or to borrow. To miss it is to miss something which will leave your adventuring among books incomplete. (Irish Independent)

You cannot possibly fail to enjoy this book, the only book I have ever reviewed which simply had to be praised without reservation... (The Listener) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Unknown Binding: 298 pages
  • Publisher: Viking (1963)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0006RPOE4
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,217,289 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Twenty Years A-Growing by Maurice O'Sullivan is one heck of a "coming of age" story. I'd never even heard of it until a friend of mine told me that he was reading it. I'm sure glad he did. This is a great book!
I've actually read several coming of age stories recently. I didn't plan to...it just kind of occurred that way. Some of them were really good (David Copperfield by Dickens being one of them); but none of them, Copperfield included, spoke to my heart like Twenty Years A-Growing.
Twenty Years A-Growing was translated into English from Gaelic. I personally find this astounding. They (whoever "they" might be) say a book always loses something in translation. Yet Twenty Years absolutely sings in English...the translation is so powerful that the original must truly be a thing of beauty.
It is an autobiographical tale of growing up in the Blasket Islands off the coast of Ireland around the time of the first world war. For me at least, it was a thing of wonder to be able to enter into this world which has since moved on. It is a story told in a wonderfully simple yet almost lyrically beautiful way. Each chapter is a story in itself. The story as a whole slowly ingrains itself upon your heart and mind.
I felt an affinity with Maurice and his friend Thomas. The adventures they find themselves in ring true even as they entertain the reader. Likewise, the character of the grandfather in particular now feels like an old friend to me now. I particularly appreciated some of the wisdom he espouses to Maurice.
Read more ›
Comment 47 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Twenty Years A-Growing, or Fiche Bliain ag Fás in its original Irish, is a humorous and well written book about the sometimes hard life at the great western island, An Blascaod Mór, off the cost of Ireland. It tells about the everyday of the islanders in the beginning of the century in a surprisingly modern and lively way. The language of the Island was Irish, and although the Great Blasket is now abandoned, the Irish language still lives on in the mainland parishes in this area. I strongly recommend this book to everyone interested in Ireland, its culture, the Irish language or readerswho just want a fun and good book. I myself have only read the whole of it in its Irish original, but the passes I've read in English shows a well-done translation
Comment 21 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
I first read this wonderful book when on vacation in County Kerry, Ireland. I was only 13 years old at the time but the book entranced me because of its humour, sensitivity and overwhelming innocence. The author describes the first twenty years of his life growing up on an isolated island (The Great Blasket) off the southwest coast of Ireland .
Life on the island was so very different to that in the rest of Europe. Gaelic (Irish) was the language used by the community with no English used at all. The book was originally published in Irish and then translated into English whilst preserving all the old colloquial expressions (e.g. "your soul to the devil, that's talk in the air, the sun was hot enough to break stones, My love forever Eileen!" etc.). Life on the island was simple in the extreme with the community living on fish they caught themselves and food they grew on their sparse amounts of land. The book is a rich narrative of many stories and events, thoughts and dreams, humor and sadness within the "riotous beauty" that is South Kerry and the Blasket islands.
The writer did not intend for his book to be read by a wider audience than his own people and that is the book's central beauty. Read it if you want to discover a lost world of innocence, ancient tales, fear, bravery, sadness, hilarity and splendid isolation.
Comment 17 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Twenty Years A-Growing is a delightful collection of stories put together to form a novel. It is not great action or plot that draws one to this book. It is the shear joy of the art of the story teller. This book is a fine example of the ancient tradition of story telling. When a "wanderer" visits the author's house, his grandfather says, "he who travels has tales to tell." The stranger is invited to pull up a chair to the fire and help "shorten the night" with his tales. Good stories do not require a TV or a radio, or for that matter, even a book. Good stories only require a good story teller and a good audience. Twenty Years A-Growing is good story telling
Comment 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Twenty Years A-Growing was published in 1933, four years after Tomas O'Crohan's The Islandman, which was the first of the books about the Blasket Island lifeway written in Irish and republished in English at a moment when "pre-modern" communities of the newly-free Ireland became subjects of fascination to some members of the former colonial ruling class. This volume includes a forward by E. M. Forster describing the Blasketers as "neolithic," a period which began 9500 years ago and was characterized by humans wearing animal skins and using bone tools. It's hard to believe he actually read the book since it is the life story of Maurice O'Sullivan, who spoke and read only English until he moved back to the island of his birth as a youth, an island which had mail delivery -- they could read and write!?! -- and a school for their children -- they endorsed universal literacy!?! -- and young O'Sullivan had no trouble passing the civil service exam to become a policeman -- they measured up to "modern" humans!?! This book stands out from the other Blasket classics as a more personal story that's less concerned with capturing the island lifeway than in describing the incidents and emotions of a young islander. Because of the personal focus and because I'd already read O'Crohan's Islandman, Peig Sayer's Reflections (1962) and Eibhlis Ni Shuilleabhain's Letters (1978), I found this book less interesting than the others. As a coming of age story it works very well, and it paints of vivid picture of the extraordinary setting. Two things really stood out for me in this book.Read more ›
2 Comments 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews