On Canaan's Side, Paperback Book
3.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


'As they used to say in Ireland, the devil only comes into good things.'Narrated by Lilly Bere, On Canaan's Side opens as she mourns the loss of her grandson, Bill.

The story then goes back to the moment she was forced to flee Dublin, at the end of the First World War, and follows her life through into the new world of America, a world filled with both hope and danger.

At once epic and intimate, Lilly's narrative unfurls as she tries to make sense of the sorrows and troubles of her life and of the people whose lives she has touched.

Spanning nearly seven decades, it is a novel of memory, war, family-ties and love, which once again displays Sebastian Barry's exquisite prose and gift for storytelling.


Other Formats



Free Home Delivery

on all orders

Pick up orders

from local bookshops


Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

I liked the idea of the book, a older woman looks back at her life in an attempt to understand how she is where she is. I liked the writing but I thought it was too clever. too cute

Review by

On Canaan´s Side is a story about the significance of a seemingly insignificant life, of selfless kindness and reckless selfishness, of how wars, any wars, wreck lives, both of people fighting and people who are left behind. Sebstian Barry´s novel made my eyes water from the first page, describing people I knew nothing about, then again at the end when I had learned about some extraordinary characters and followed an amazing, well-woven story. It is, however, a bit uneven, and one may be tempted to leave the story in the middle - which would be a terrible shame, missing the astonishing ending. I stopped many times, rereading lines, because the prose is so good and rich. Barry is an impressive writer, I now know there are novels written about minor characters in On Canaan´s Side, and I hope to read the others at a later stage.

Also by Sebastian Barry   |  View all