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The City Of Invention

The book reviews of UK children's author, Brian Keaney

Lyrical Irish Masterpiece

The Secret Scripture - Sebastian Barry

The story of a forgotten old woman in a mental asylum in the West of Ireland, The Secret Scripture is written in beautiful prose, as packed tight with imagery as anything by Synge or O’Casey and equally full of a bitter-sweet humour. The central characer, Roseanne McNulty, tells her own story and in doing so, ranges over a hundred years of modern Irish history with all its attendant tragedy and farce. Her tale is interweaved with the diary of her psychiatrist who has troubles of his own and as the book proceeds the two stories begin to collide in the most unexpected way. It’s a wonderful, lyrical, multi-layered book that explores the damage human beings do to each other almost casually, the desperate confusion in which most of us live our lives, and the hopes we nourish against all odds. I believe it deserves to be considered a masterpiece.