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Days Without End by Sebastian Barry. Book Review.

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry. Book Review.

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry. Book Review.Days Without End by Sebastian Barry
Published by Faber & Faber on November 1st 2016
Pages: 272
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three-half-stars

Twice Booker-shortlisted author Sebastian Barry returns with a sensational new novel set in mid-19th Century America, an intensely poignant story of two men and the lives they are dealt.

'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...'

Having signed 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.

Orphans of terrible hardships themselves, they find these days to be vivid and alive, despite the horrors they both see and are complicit in.

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.

“Time was not something then we thought of as an item that possessed an ending, but something that would go on forever, 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.

Sebastian Barry in Days Without End

 

They were just teenagers when they met, Thomas McNulty and John Cole, sheltering under a hedge from the sudden downpour of rain. Both thin and starving, they decided two had better chance at surviving than one alone and became firm friends, and lovers, and partners.

Together they joined the army, as a means of survival really, and found themselves at war first against the Indians, and then wearing the blue of the North against the Confederates in the Civil War.

Thomas from Ireland and John Cole with Indian blood in his veins, doing what they had to do to survive.

Survival became all the more important after they took on a young Indian girl, who became more daughter than maid.

They were a family. And family, for Thomas and John Cole, meant everything.

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

three-half-stars
A Horse Walks into a Bar, by David Grossman

A Horse Walks into a Bar, by David Grossman

“But you’ll have to wait patiently, my friends, because this is a story that, honest to God, I have never told in a show. Never told it…

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