On Canaan's Side

by Sebastian Barry

On Canaan's Side

Paperback, 256 pages, Penguin Books, List Price: $15 | purchase

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  • Sebastian Barry

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Hardcover, 256 pages, Penguin Group USA, $25.95, published September 8 2011 | purchase
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Book Summary

The Man Booker Prize short-listed author of The Secret Scripture presents the tragic story of youngest daughter Lilly Bere, who after fleeing Ireland under threat of death from the IRA survives heartache, a midlife pregnancy and the challenges of the Great Depression and multiple wars.

NPR stories about On Canaan's Side

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Chosen as one of the year's freshest reads by bookseller Rona Brinlee of The BookMark in Neptune Beach, Fla., Sebastian Barry's latest novel, On Canaan's Side, is about an 89-year-old woman named Lilly who looks for a reason to go on after the death of her grandson Bill. The story is structured around the 17 days after Bill dies, as Lilly writes her life's story. Brinlee writes,

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The narrator, Lilly, is 89 years old and has just suffered the loss of the grandson she raised. In order to give herself a reason to go on, she decides to write her life's story. Each chapter is another day after Bill's death, for a total of 17 days. In these days, Lilly receives visitors who conjure up stories from her past. The men in Lilly's life appear and disappear, often mysteriously. Somehow, she is so captivating, it's easy not to worry or wonder what happened to these men. When

Rona Brinlee

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