Set in Ireland in the 1970s, the novel is about a ordinary Irish family of three struggling withShortlisted for the 2006 Man Booker Prize, M.J. Hyland's Carry Me Down is, in my view, much better than the Prize winner, The Inheritance of Loss.
Set in Ireland in the 1970s, the novel is about a ordinary Irish family of three struggling with poverty and the harshness of life. The story is told by the 11-year old John Egan, an abnormally tall child who thought he was a gifted human lie detector. John's father had been unemployed for 3 years and the family stayed with John's grandmother in the interim. Tempers flared in this dysfunctional family one day, and John and his parents had to move out.
The book is quite long and the slow pace makes it quite difficult to read at the beginning. I guess some readers will give up after reading the first 100 pages. The story is unveiled steadily with John's observations of his daily life. The relationship between his parents and their marital problems are all told from the perspective of John, and John is only a kid.
However, as the story develops and John's narrative becomes more poignant, you will discover that this is not an ordinarily child. As you read on and drill deeper into this troubled and disturbed mind that is verging on madness, you will feel his yearning for love and attention. And when the story comes to an end, you will marvel at the feat accomplished by Hyland and understand why it deserves a place in the Booker Prize shortlist.
Hyland is almost 40 but her narrative as an 11-year old is so convincing. This is a refreshing and brilliant piece of work. Highly recommended....Continua