In Everything in This Country Must, his fourth book, Colum McCann turns to the "troubles" in Northern Ireland and reveals the reverberations of political tragedy in the most intimate lives of men and women, parents and children. In the title story, a teenage girl must choose between allegiance to her Catholic father and gratitude to the British soldiers who have saved the family's horse. The young hero of Hunger Strike, a novella, tries to replicate the experience of his uncle, an IRA prisoner on hunger strike. And in Wood, a small boy does his part for the Protestant marches, concealing his involvement from his blind father.
Colum McCann is the author of books including This Side of Brightness, Zoli, Songdogs and Let the Great World Spin. He has received the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, a Pushcart Prize, and was named the first winner of the Grace Kelly Memorial Foundation Award and the Princess Grace Memorial Literary Award. He lives in New York City.
Everything in This Country Must: A Novella and Two Stories 3.6 out of 5based on
edwinbcn on LibraryThing
5 months ago
After reading This side of brightness earlier this year, Everything in this country must is my second book by Colum McCann. McCann is often presented as an Irish writer, which by birth he is, but he moved to the US at the age of about 20. We would not call that an early age. He had started his journalistic career before that, while still in Ireland, but his career as a novelist / fiction writer developed in the United States, with is first work of fiction, Fishing the Sloe-Black River published there 8 years on. Despite references to Ireland, his work has a strong American feel to it.The stories of Everything in this country must, a novella and two stories, are set in Ireland. The first, title story, Everything in this country must affirms my feeling that McCann is particularly strong at describing crises. The other two stories, however, lack that energy and momentum, and are relatively bland. In the third story Hunger strike the repetitive tables of weight loss are distracting, and mask the weakness of the writing to convey the development in the character.Supposedly all set in Ireland, none of the stories feel authentically Irish.
richardderus on LibraryThing
5 months ago
Okay, so, see, there's this place called Ireland? And it's really poor? Or, well, anyway, it used to be and stuff. So anyway, this Irish guy comes here, I mean to America, and he writes about these Irish people from when it was all poor and stuff? And so these stories are, like, really really sad and the people are all poor and kinda mean and they don't seem like they ever smile or anything? But they're all, like, really really trying to be good but something Irish just won't let em! Honest!If "Hunger Strike" doesn't make you madder'n Hell's hottest rock, you're dead inside. "Everything in This Country Must" should make you weep buckets; "Wood" which is a lovely piece of writing, just doesn't fit in the emotional continuum of the other two, but what do I know.I know I think you should read this collection tout suite. It's only 150pp, anyone here can polish that off in a day.
hemlokgang on LibraryThing
5 months ago
Audiobook............Listening to Colum McCann's prose is like listening to poetry, regardless of the subject matter. He is an excellent writer! This is the first time I have read his writing in the shorter format of novella and short stories, and I think he is masterful at it. All I will say, is settle back in a comfy chair with a beautiful view and listen. You will be carried away to the tough and demanding world of Ireland and its day-to-day realities. It's worth the time!
kidzdoc on LibraryThing
5 months ago
Everything in This Country Must consists of two short stories and a novella, which are set in Northern Ireland during the Troubles. The first short story, "Everything in This Country Must", is narrated by a farm girl whose mother and sister were killed by British army troops, who struggles vainly alongside her embittered father to rescue his beloved draft horse from a raging river, until British soldiers come to their aid. "Wood", the second short story, describes a poverty stricken boy and his mother, who secretly prepare wooden poles to sell to local Protestant marchers to make protest banners, unbeknownst to his disapproving and disabled father. Finally, "Hunger Strike" is a powerful novella about a teen-aged boy, who lives with his widowed mother as they follow the plight of his father's brother, an imprisoned IRA freedom fighter who is on a hunger strike. The stories are evocative and filled with repressed anger, fear and despair, but are not overly maudlin or partisan.
Dottiehaase on LibraryThing
5 months ago
Powerful writing about people caught up in troubles of Northern Ireland--a horse caught in a river; a boy kayaking with older man, while uncle is on hunger strike. Authtor's use of language is extraordinary
Hagelstein on LibraryThing
8 months ago
A strong collection of two stories and a novella that explores how the troubles in Northern Ireland impacted the families of victims and even those who wouldn't seem to be directly affected.
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