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review 2017-06-23 16:00
On Canaan’s Side ★★★☆☆
On Canaan's Side - Sebastian Barry

I had a lot I wanted to say about this book, as I had just finished it, but then I got into a long, work-related conversation with a colleague, and now I find my brain mostly empty of thoughts where this book is concerned. That, perhaps, is a good indicator of how deeply affected I was by it. Mostly how I felt, by the end, was as though I was covered in a heavy smothering blanket of depression. Perhaps that’s the point. Perhaps that was the author’s goal in writing this book. When I read “literary” novels, this seems to be how I most often feel, with the second most common emotion being impatient annoyance. The latter is most common in the ones that I’m not even able to finish reading.

 

On Canaan’s Side seems to be about grief and loss and the pointlessness of actually making human connections in life, when at the end everybody you loved is gone or has betrayed you in some way. There is some beautiful language and gorgeous descriptions of setting and emotions. The author chose to express some of these in stream-of-consciousness style of run-on sentences that literally went on as long as 1 ½ pages of text. Fortunately, these were mostly confined to the first and last few chapters, with the middle third of the book written in a snappier style that moved the plot and story (such as it was) along in a more tolerable fashion.

 

When I was a teenager, we had a saying that encompassed all the angst of that age: “Life’s a bitch, and then you die”. That’s pretty much how I felt by the end of this book.

 

Hardcover version, purchased as a circulation discard from a Friends of the Library sale. I read this for the 2017 Booklikes-opoloy challenge, for the square Trains, Planes, & Automobiles 14: Read a book that involves overseas travel, or that has a suitcase on the cover.  There is a brief description of the main character’s overseas journey from Ireland to America, and two other characters journey overseas for the Vietnam and Gulf wars.

 

Previous Updates:

6/29/17 182/272 pg

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text 2017-06-19 14:18
On Canaan's Side: 182/272 pg
On Canaan's Side - Sebastian Barry

Finally, the pace is starting to pick up. I'm starting to think I'll never be done with this book.

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review 2016-10-09 20:49
And this is why I joined the NYRB Book Club
The Invisibility Cloak (New York Review Books Classics) - Ge Fei,Canaan Morse

Oct 2016 NYRB Club Selection

Talk about reading a book about life, this is it. If all of Ge Fei's work is like this, he deserves the Nobel.

One story about man's life and his desire for something, is actually a brilliant comment about most lived.

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review 2016-08-08 04:44
THE DEVIL IN CANAAN PARISH by Jackie Shemwell
The Devil in Canaan Parish by Jackie Shemwell (2015-10-21) - Jackie Shemwell

Vieux Diable

 

Wow! Just wow!!

I happened to find this dark and sinister read while browsing Amazon. (It was FREE at the time of download.) What a great find this was! I'd have gladly paid for this eBook. As a proud Louisianian, I enjoy reading southern fiction and stories that take place in the heart of Cajun country. Being familiar with a setting can really bring a story to life. It was very easy to imagine the players here in Canaan Parish. Overall, fantastic setting, a slow buildup to an explosive ending. Gave me chills.

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review 2016-06-11 00:00
The Devil in Canaan Parish
The Devil in Canaan Parish - Jackie Shemwell **I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review**

Cover: Eerily Intriguing
Rating 4 Stars
Overall: Intense
Characters: Human to a fault
Plot: It starts out dark, and you only do darker from there!
Page Turner: Yes
Series Cont.? N/a
Recommend Yes.

SUMMARY (50 word or so)

I wasn't sure what I was getting into when I started this book. I knew it has Cajun themes and a Gothic style, but it was pretty vague beyond that. The father I read, it hit me it's like a strange twist of The Help meets The Great Gatsby, only...not. Once I get into it, I couldn't put it down! It is defiantly dark, but that's the magic, it's done perfectly!

Read the rest of this review, and my other book news and reviews at: Adventures Thru Wonderland
http://adventuresthruwonderland.blogspot.com/
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