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Sebastian Barry – 30 Jan

30th January 2017 @ 19:30 - 20:30 UTC


The great Irish writer Sebastian Barry visits the ILS on 30 January to join in conversation with Prof Roy Foster about his new novel Days Without End.

The novel continues Barry’s saga of two Irish families, the Dunnes and the McNultys, which has spanned several novels and multiple time frames and locations. The Guardian has called the sequence ‘one of the most compelling, bravura and heart-wrenching fictional projects of recent memory.’

A beautiful, savage, tender, searing work of art. Sentence after perfect sentence it grips and does not let go.Donal Ryan

Time was not something then we thought of as an item that possessed an ending,
but something that would go on for ever, all rested and stopped in that moment.
Hard to say what I mean by that. You look back at all the endless years when you
never had that thought. I am doing that now as I write these words in Tennessee. I
am thinking of the days without end of my life. And it is not like that now…

After signing up for the US army in the 1850s, aged barely seventeen, Thomas
McNulty and his brother-in-arms, John Cole, go on to fight in the Indian wars and,
ultimately, the Civil War. Having fled terrible hardships themselves, they find these days to be vivid and filled with wonder, despite the horrors they both witness and are complicit in. Their lives are further enriched and endangered when a young Indian girl crosses their path, and the possibility of lasting happiness emerges, if only they can survive.

A violent, superbly lyrical western offering a sweeping vision of America in the making [and] the most fascinating line-by-line first person narration I’ve come across in years.Kazuo Ishiguro

Moving from the plains of the West to Tennessee, Sebastian Barry’s latest work is a masterpiece of atmosphere and language. Both an intensely poignant story of two men and the lives they are dealt, and a fresh look at some of the most fateful years in America’s past, Days Without End is a novel never to be forgotten.

Sebastian Barry Sebastian Barry
Sebastian Barry was born in Dublin in 1955. His novels and plays have won the Costa Book of the Year award, the Kerry Group Irish Fiction Prize, the Irish Book Awards Novel of the Year, the Independent Booksellers Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. He also had two consecutive novels, A Long Long Way (2005) and the top ten bestseller The Secret Scripture (2008), shortlisted for the MAN Booker Prize. He lives in Wicklow.

Roy Foster Prof Roy Foster
Roy Foster recently retired as Carroll Professor of Irish history at Oxford, he is a fellow of Hertford College. He has written widely on Irish history, society and politics in the modern period, as well as on Victorian high politics and culture. Foster produced a widely acclaimed biography of William Butler Yeats which was awarded the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. In Words Alone: Yeats and his inheritances (2011), he presents a re-reading of Irish literary history throughout the nineteenth century and places Yeats and his inspirations in apposition to a much wider range of literary and political precursors than is usually the case. His most recent book is Vivid Faces: the revolutionary generation in Ireland 1890-1914.


30th January 2017
19:30 - 20:30 UTC
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Irish Literary Society


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