Advance reader reviews of The Walking People

The Walking People

A Novel

by Mary Beth Keane

The Walking People
  • Critics' Opinion:

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  • Published in USA  May 2009
    416 pages
    Genre: Novels

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There are currently 19 member reviews
for The Walking People
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  • Jinny (Fremont, CA)


    Satisfying Family Saga
    Family sagas are a favorite genre of mine and The Walking People does not disappoint.

    Although it focuses on one generation, it has the feel of a multi-generational tale, given the primitive hardscrabble existence described in the earlier part of the book, before the characters traveled from Ireland to New York City. Like a series of consecutive anecdotes, it seems to live on theme rather than plot; this works very well considering the author's gift for character and dialog. The descriptions are vivid, with breathtaking imagery and the characters are real and dear. I will look forward to more books by Mary Beth Keane.
  • Jean N. (New Richmond, OH)


    The Walking People
    The author described the various unusual settings in such a complete way that I experienced each one as though I was there. I was glad to witness the main character, Greta, throw off the labels placed on her as a young girl, and grow into a woman of unexpected strengths and abilities.

    This book was very original. I can't say that it reminded me of any other book that I've read. But, I can say I loved it and I'd highly recommend it as a favorite new title to my friends.
  • Joyce K. (El Segundo, CA)


    Loved It!!!
    I loved this book, its probably the best light read I've had in a long time. The characters are ordinary hardworking people but they are so colorful. I love the way the book starts at the present day and then moves back in time and tells how they got to be where they are now. I love family sagas and I love Irish family sagas even more. Greta is such a lovable character and I couldn't read this book fast enough. I have recommended this book to my friends and they will be pleased with it.
  • Joan N. (Evanston, IL)


    Irish Sisters Emigrate to America
    I thoroughly enjoyed “The Walking People,” by Mary Beth Keane. I quickly became wrapped up in the doings of the two sisters, Greta and Joanna Cahill, first in Ballyroan, Ireland, and then when they emigrated with Michael Ward to New York. Their poverty didn’t seem as abject as that in “Angela’s Ashes,” and they were survivors, especially in traveling to the United States. The New York scenes, in particular, seemed gritty and realistic in the way they struggled and made friends with people like themselves. I heartily recommend this novel.
  • Betty S. (Jasper, GA)


    The Walking People
    One reason I enjoy fiction is that it lets me see what it is like to live in other places and times. While reading this book, I got to spend time with a farm family in 1950s Ireland; in an immigrant neighborhood in New York in the 1960s and 70s; in Bloomingdale's Dept Store; and in a tunnel under the Hudson River where sandhogs do their dangerous work far under the streets of New York. All of this in the company of an inspiring couple whose only aim in life is to stay together and raise three good kids.

    It was time well spent. This is a great book.
  • Lisa G. (Riverwoods, IL)


    The Walking People
    As a lover of family sagas, this book did not disappoint me and I think it would be a terrific book group selection. It was hard at first to remember that the story began in rural Ireland in 1957 and not fifty or a hundred years before. Enter the Wards, a tribe of tinkers (wanderers) whose son's dream was to put down roots. As his family told him repeatedly, they had wandered 1,000 years and were not meant to stay in one place. But he does put down roots and builds a life for himself, building tunnels under New York City. The people he works with, his growing family and the tunnels themselves anchor his life. Love of one's heritage and family makes this story one that should not be missed.
  • Anita R. (North Barrington, Illinois)


    The Walking People
    What an absolute treat this book was! This Irish story starts in 1956 and goes to the present. Yet it is still the same story of my in-laws who came here more than 80-years ago. This is a book about ordinary people having the courage to go into the unknown doing extra-ordinary things and never giving up whatever the hardships. There is love and loyalty to family and yet no sentimentality.The author developed every character - flaws and all - into appealing humans. No wonder this Country is great!
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