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?It seemed as if the town of Carn, a huddled clump of windswept grey buildings split in two by a muddied main street, had somehow been spirited away and supplanted by a thriving, bustling place which bore no resemblance whatever to it. For a split second, she saw her own death, a gunmetal face fixed on the sky, all around the faces and voices of Carn as she had known it. Josie Keenan had come home to the town of Carn, the only home she knew? ?A unique record by somebody who understands that the reality of small-town life is as important in literature as any aspect of Ireland . . . a savage, raw and bitter honesty . . . I know no Irish writer with such an obvious, extraordinary talent? Dermot Bolger, Sunday Independent ?Powerful, precise writing - Patrick McCabe?s Carn introduces one of the most promising writers in a long, long time? Bill Buford, Granta ?Resolute . . . the writing is raw and didactic. His story bears the hideous ring of authenticity? Guardian ?Stylishly narrated, but with the chronological forthrightness that comes as a benison after some modern novels? London Review of Books.… (mere)
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Carn is an Irish town ½ mile from the border with the north. McCabe shows the boom and bust history of Carn through the lives of several residents. The town grows over the years to become a bustling commercial center as it transitions from a railroad to one anchored by a meat processing plant (Carn – carne). When The Troubles come in the 1970s Carn is not left untouched and for many that period leads to a downfall.

The novel, and the town itself, embody some of McCabe’s favorite themes: Sexual abuse, insanity and loss of tradition. “On it goes and not a thing we can do about it.” ( )
  Hagelstein | Oct 14, 2014 |
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?It seemed as if the town of Carn, a huddled clump of windswept grey buildings split in two by a muddied main street, had somehow been spirited away and supplanted by a thriving, bustling place which bore no resemblance whatever to it. For a split second, she saw her own death, a gunmetal face fixed on the sky, all around the faces and voices of Carn as she had known it. Josie Keenan had come home to the town of Carn, the only home she knew? ?A unique record by somebody who understands that the reality of small-town life is as important in literature as any aspect of Ireland . . . a savage, raw and bitter honesty . . . I know no Irish writer with such an obvious, extraordinary talent? Dermot Bolger, Sunday Independent ?Powerful, precise writing - Patrick McCabe?s Carn introduces one of the most promising writers in a long, long time? Bill Buford, Granta ?Resolute . . . the writing is raw and didactic. His story bears the hideous ring of authenticity? Guardian ?Stylishly narrated, but with the chronological forthrightness that comes as a benison after some modern novels? London Review of Books.

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