One Minute Book Review – On Canaan’s Side by Sebastian Barry


On Canaan’s Side continues the story of the Dunnes, the family whose members have appeared in Barry’s books Annie Dunne and A Long, Long Way and in his play The Steward of Christendom. This time it is Annie and Willie Dunne’s sister Lilly, now 89 looking back at her life from the apparent safety of the United States, the “promised land” of the novel’s title. Over seventeen days following the death of her grandson Bill, Lily tells of a life riven by violence – from the First World War and the Troubles to Vietnam and the First Gulf War. All have touched Lilly through the men she loved and thwarted her hopes for the future, yet in all this Lilly is never self pitying. Written in Barry’s characteristic hauntingly beautiful prose, this is ultimately a work of hope and deep humanity.

A detailed review can be found here.

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