Monday, August 18, 2008

70. "The Secret Scripture" - Sebastian Barry


I adored A Long, Long Way; in fact, it was one of the first almost-TKAM books that I read for this blog. I still admire Barry's way with language - there are moments in The Secret Scripture that made me heart-hungry for such talent - but the overall landscape didn't work for me.

Old, old Roseanne is in the Sligo asylum, waiting for death or another day as a 100-year-old woman. She is not insane but uses the asylum literally. She writes her story and hides it under a loose floorboard. Meanwhile, Dr. Grene, the HBIC psychiatrist, must decide who is sane enough to return to society, as the asylum is being closed.

Funny thing is, as long as Roseanne has been there, Dr. Grene has not known her story or her reasons for being there. Funny thing is, the mice ate away at her records. Funny thing is, Dr. Grene is the most useless psychiatrist in the history of mankind, and his character flaws widen to impossibilities. Add a soap opera twist and *boom* - I've flung this novel against the wall.

Oh, Sebastian Barry, you are capable of so much more than just pretty words.

1.25 out of 5.0 Hot Irish Nut.

4 comments:

Rose City Reader said...

I searching book blogs today and found yours. Like you, my 2008 goal was to read more books for the simple pleasure of them, rather than because they won a prize or were otherwise "important." I finished the Modern Library's Top 100 Fiction list last year, so was looking to lighten things up.

I've been about halfway successful. After all, I am a "compulsive list reader" so it's hard for me to abandon my "must read' lists entirely.

Great blog! I'll check back.

J.Danger said...

oh no! This one is on my TBR list. Now I am torn!

Kristin Dodge said...

J. - I *love* your blog. It's high-larious good times with boys. I'm with you, though I think mine are a bit older. Stinky feet, gaseous rooms, and a jock strap that hasn't been washed since *last* football season.

Don't take my word for the book... others have loved it. I did a google search after I posted, though, and found someone else with an almost identical review, down to the soap opera twist.

Sandra said...

I'm torn too but think I'll read it anyway since I have it in the house. Glad to know Exploding Mangoes was good. I have that one too.I like you blog. I posted the Man Booker Prizes on mine too and would like to get through them. I'm a little overwhelmed with ARCs to review right now but I'll get there. I'll be back to read more when I can.