I should have known better. I should have known that reading any book set in Ireland, immersed in the Irish experience, the Irish ethos, the Irish fatalism, the Irish penchant for self-flagellation and gloom would depress me and that it would take me some time to recover from it.
Let me state outright that this is a masterfully written book, a brilliant character study and a starkly realistic, true-to-life story. Judith Hearne was for me a living, breathing, deeply human person. And Brian Moore's ability to disclose the personalities of his minor characters through their soliloquies brought to mind those penned by Shakespeare. I can hardly praise it enough.
And I hated every page of it.
I understand why most readers have awarded at least 4 stars, I really do. But the sad truth is that I get more depressing news than I can tolerate every time I turn on the TV news or open a newspaper. I cannot bring myself to enjoy a book that starts off bleakly and descends further into hopelessness with each chapter. Judith Hearne, you are a victim. Victims do not elicit my sympathy, they enrage me. I understand that is my problem, not yours. But that's just the way it is.
With my apologies, two stars.
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