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Cal: A Novel

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Overview

"Bernard MacLaverty's powerful novel is a love story as affecting and tragic as you could want."—USA Today
When it was first published, Bernard MacLaverty's fiction masterpiece was hailed by Michael Gorra in the New York Times Book Review as "a marvel of technical perfection. . . . Cal is a most moving novel whose emotional impact is grounded in a complete avoidance of sentimentality. . . . [It] will become the Passage to India of the Troubles."
For Cal, a Belfast teenager who, ...
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Overview

"Bernard MacLaverty's powerful novel is a love story as affecting and tragic as you could want."—USA Today
When it was first published, Bernard MacLaverty's fiction masterpiece was hailed by Michael Gorra in the New York Times Book Review as "a marvel of technical perfection. . . . Cal is a most moving novel whose emotional impact is grounded in a complete avoidance of sentimentality. . . . [It] will become the Passage to India of the Troubles."
For Cal, a Belfast teenager who, against his will, is involved in the terrible war between Catholics and Protestants, some of the choices are devastatingly simple: he can work in the slaughterhouse that nauseates him or join the dole queue; he can brood on his past or plan a future with the beautiful, widowed Marcella for whose grief he shares more than a little responsibility.
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Editorial Reviews

Allan Massie
“It is a work in the classical tradition of the novel; and it has all the beauty and moral seriousness of the form at its best.”
History Editor
First published in 1983, this lyrical novel, superficially straightforward but full of stories within stories, first brought Bernard MacLaverty's work to public attention. In the novel, a young Irish Republican Army operative who wants to break the cycle of violence seeks out a woman whose Ulster policeman husband he helped to murder. As their relationship grows, so do Cal's guilt and sorrow, until, in the end, he is forced to make a sacrifice of himself in order to gain redemption. Rich in ideas and history, this book helps us understand the situation in Northern Ireland--which "is not just there," MacLaverty has remarked, "as a colorful background."
Robert Wilson
Powerful...Cal is a love story as affecting and tragic as you could want...as finely crafted as a short story. -- USA Today
Michael Gorra
A most moving novel whose emotional impact is grounded in a complete avoidance of sentimentality... -- The New York Times
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393313321
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/1/1995
  • Edition description: 1st Norton pbk. ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 643,958
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Bernard MacLaverty is the author of eight books, including Grace Notes, which was short-listed for the Booker Prize and won the Saltire Scottish Book of the Year Award. He lives in Glasgow, Scotland.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2007

    Beautiful must-read

    Cal is the heart-wrentching story of a youth who is trying to come to terms with his past, his crimes, and the religious differences that still cause so much trouble in northern ireland. The simple, straightforward yet lyrical and picturesque prose is entirely captivating, revealing a tale that is tragic and inspirational, and can be an excellant tool in the world today to help build understanding and tolerance where there is none.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2000

    Good picture of the events in Northern Ireland

    I liked this book a lot. It shows the war from a guy's point of view, who does not care about religious differences and refuses fighting. Good message! With this sensitive guy, Cal, I could sometimes identify myself.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2008

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

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