Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Like stepping stones in a river
Title: On Canaan's Side
By: Sebastian Barry
This tender story is told through the reminiscences of Lilly, now in her eighties, who was forced to flee her native Ireland in her early twenties. Her family was caught up on the wrong side of the Irish independence struggle. The lasting and tragic impact on her did not destroy her compassion for others. We wander through her life, in and out of major U.S. cities, alighting on crucial memories like stepping stones in a river.
Both the story and the woman Lilly Bere come vibrantly alive through Wanda McCaddon’s voice. Barry’s prose is lyrical yet simple. Lilly muses about her grandson: "Age ten, he was full of a beautiful intimacy. Age fourteen, he began a long retreating walk into silence. As a child, he was like the library of Alexandria, full of stories and rare items. Then life seemed to burn most of that away, page by page."
This is such a beautiful, nuanced reading, I want to hear it again.