A haunted childhood, lived out in two dimensions. One is legendary: the Sun-fort of Grianan, home of the warrior Fianna; the Field of the Disappeared, over which no gulls fly; the house in Donegal where children are stolen away by demonic forces.
The other is actual: the city of Derry in the Northern Ireland of the 40s and 50s; a place that is also haunted by political enmities, family secrets, lethal intrigue.
The boy narrator of READING IN THE DARK grows up enclosed in these two worlds, sensing that they are intertwined in some mysterious ways that he both wants and does not want to discover.
Through the silence that surrounds him, he feels the truth spreading like a stain until it engulfs him and his family.
Claustrophobic but lyrically charged, breathtakingly sad but vibrant and unforgettable, READING IN THE DARK is one of the finest books about growing up - in Ireland or anywhere - that has every been written.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 240 pages
- Publisher: Vintage Publishing
- Publication Date: 03/04/1997
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780099744412
Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.
Review by dylanwolf
There is much to be admired in this, sadly Seamus Deane's only novel. Each chapter is evocative episode from a Londonderry childhood through to adulthood. Storytelling and folklore is woven deeply into the text and the delicacy, tenderness and wonderful skill of the writing makes this an excellent read. Very warmly recommended.
Review by WorldInColour
'Reading In The Dark' is a childhood story, and in many ways a coming-of-age story of an unnamed Irish boy. The main narrative features a family secret, of which everyone thinks they know the truth. Much of the secret remains obscured though, because of a wild variety of reasons. The most fascinating aspect of this book, however, was how it uses old family legend and regional folklore together with a more serious approach of issues like the Irish struggle for independence of thought. I especially enjoyed the family stories, which did not really serve a purpose in se, but were quite fascinating nonetheless.<br/><br/>It didn't take me long to finish the book, as it is rather short. I can't say I'd recommend it over other magnificent books of the world, but it was a rather pleasant and fairly rewarding read.