Old God’s Time – Sebastian Barry

Old God’s Time – Sebastian Barry

I enjoyed Days without End and The Secret Scriptures, but I was a bit wary of reading this one. I kept seeing it in various different places though, so I thought I would give it a go.

Here’s the blurb …

Recently retired policeman Tom Kettle is settling into the quiet of his new home, a lean-to annexed to a Victorian castle overlooking the Irish Sea. For months he has barely seen a soul, catching only glimpses of his eccentric landlord and a nervous young mother who has moved in next door. Occasionally, fond memories return, of his family, his beloved wife June and their two children, Winnie and Joe.

But when two former colleagues turn up at his door with questions about a decades-old case, one which Tom never quite came to terms with, he finds himself pulled into the darkest currents of his past.

A beautiful, haunting novel, in which nothing is quite as it seems, Old God’s Time is about what we live through, what we live with, and what may survive of us.

I found the blurb quite misleading – I thought he would be dragged back into an unsolved case and it would be a crime novel. But that’s not what happens, he thinks back on various incidents in his life. Tom is old and alone (all of his family have died) and he is confused. So a very unreliable narrator – he had conversations which may or may not have taken place. Altogether I found it quite a challenge to follow; I think that’s the point, but the writing is beautiful. I can forgive a lot for lovely sentences.

This book is not for the faint-hearted, there is horrific child sexual abuse (only described retrospectively).

A review

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