A Long Long Way

By Sebastian Barry,

Book cover of A Long Long Way

Book description

Praised as a "master storyteller" (The Wall Street Journal) and hailed for his "flawless use of language" (Boston Herald), Irish author and playwright Sebastian Barry has created a powerful new novel about divided loyalties and the realities of war.

Sebastian Barry's latest novel, Days Without End, is now available.


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Why read it?

2 authors picked A Long Long Way as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I think Sebastian Barry is one of the greatest contemporary novelists whose prose unfailingly sings, pirouettes, and enriches. I would recommend all his novels, which take various members of the Dunne or McNulty families over time and place. This particular novel is set in the First World War and follows Willie Dunne as he leaves Dublin to fight for the British, only to find himself caught on the wrong side at the Easter uprising and having to face his own countrymen. It is a brilliant depiction of a young Irish tommy out of his depth in a brutal war, fighting…

A Long, Long Way just broke my heart. The protagonist, Willie Dunne, is a gentle soul, not the typical boilerplate hero of many male-authored World War One books, where the character is seemingly in every major battle doing Victoria-Cross-worthy manoeuvres. Willie is frightened, he is human, he grows up in a slum. In battle, he defecates in his pants out of terror, and yes, he does kill. But he suffers a great betrayal, and towards the end when he realises he has lost someone, his understated grief just undoes me. I also admire Barry for not forgetting this is a…

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