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On Canaan's Side

Sebastian Barry    
Availability: Out of print
Format: Paperback - C format
Pages: 304
AUD $29.99inc. GST
On Canaan's Side


More about this book

From the two-time Man Booker shortlisted author of The Secret Scripture comes a magnificent new novel, spanning one woman Lilly Bere's lifetime, lived between Ireland and America.


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.


Longlisted for 2011 Man Booker Prize.

Sebastian Barry was born in Dublin in 1955. His novels include The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty (1998), Annie Dunne (2002), A Long Long Way (2005) and The Secret Scripture (2008). A Long Long Way, which was also shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Dublin International Impac Prize, was the Dublin: One City One Book choice for 2007. The Secret Scripture won several awards. It was also shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. He lives in Wicklow with his wife and three children.

ISBN: 9780571273638
Australian Pub.: August 2011
Publisher: Faber
Imprint: Faber Fiction
Subject: Literary fiction
Edition Number:

Sebastian Barry discusses On Canaan's Side in a special edition of the Faber podcast:
Sebastian Barry: On Canaan's Side by FaberBooks

Sebastian Barry Reads from 'On Canaan's Side' from FaberBooks on Vimeo.

Sebastian Barry Discusses 'On Canaan's Side' from FaberBooks on Vimeo.

'Barry captures this unfolding life, punctuated by the wider events of history – the second world war, the civil rights movement, Vietnam – with a vivid lyricism.' - read the rest of this review

'Barry's prose is overwhelmingly poetic, its lyricism yielding a seemingly endless series of potent and moving images' - read the rest of this review at the Guardian website

'a quiet masterpiece ... a novel that deserves to be read slowly and more than once.' - read the rest of this review at the Readings blog

Sebastian Barry answers Ten Terrifying Questions at the Booktopia blog

Sebastian Barry talks to the Independent

Read the Irish Times interview