Days Without End: Book summary and reviews of Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

Days Without End

by Sebastian Barry

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry
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  • Published in USA  Jan 2017
    272 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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Book Summary

Moving from the plains of Wyoming to Tennessee, Sebastian Barry's latest work is a masterpiece of atmosphere and language. An intensely poignant story of two men and the makeshift family they create with a young Sioux girl, Winona, Days Without End is a fresh and haunting portrait of the most fateful years in American history and is a novel never to be forgotten.

"I am thinking of the days without end of my life. And it is not like that now."

From the two-time Man Booker Prize finalist Sebastian Barry, "a master storyteller" (Wall Street Journal), comes a powerful new novel of duty and family set against the American Indian and Civil Wars.

Thomas McNulty, aged barely seventeen and having fled the Great Famine in Ireland, signs up for the U.S. Army in the 1850s. With his brother in arms, John Cole, Thomas goes on to fight in the Indian Wars - against the Sioux and the Yurok - and, ultimately, the Civil War. Orphans of terrible hardships themselves, the men find these days to be vivid and alive, despite the horrors they see and are complicit in.

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Book Awards

  • award image Costa Book Awards, 2017
  • award image Costa Book Awards, 2017

Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Barry writes with a gloomy gloriousness: everyone that crosses his pages is in mortal danger, but there's an elegant beauty even in the most fraught moments." - Library Journal

"Starred Review. Evocative of Cormac McCarthy and Charles Portis, Days without End is a timeless work of historical fiction." - Booklist

"The explicit battle scenes may also be difficult to take, but they have energy and intensity, in contrast with Thomas and John's love story, which traces without much drama how Thomas comes to realize he prefers dresses to a uniform." - Publishers Weekly

"A pleasure for fans of Barry and his McNulty stories and a contribution not just to Irish literature in English, but also the literature of the American West." - Kirkus

"Days Without End is a work of staggering openness; its startlingly beautiful sentences are so capacious that they are hard to leave behind, its narrative so propulsive that you must move on. In its pages, Barry conjures a world in miniature, inward, quiet, sacred; and a world of spaces and borders so distant they can barely be imagined." - The Guardian (UK)

"Days Without End is not only a story of survival, it is a love story, too, written in a gorgeous style that blends Barry's characteristic eloquence with the straight-talk of early America . . . Days Without End takes the reader back to a critical point of fracture in the history of the US ... Barry appears to paint a world where outsiders can find a path through the destruction wreaked all around." - Financial Times (UK)

"The novel comes close to being a modern masterpiece. Written in a style that is as delicate and economical as a spider's web, it builds to a climax that is as brutally effective as a punch to the gut." - The Times (UK)

"Remarkable ... Life-affirming in the truest and best ways."- The Daily Mail (UK)

"Epic, lyrical and constantly suprising ... a rich and satisfying novel." - Jeff Robson, Independent

"The narrative is gripping, descriptions of landscape vivid and beautiful, evocations of military life, brutal warfare, cruelty and courage utterly compelling." - The Scotsman (UK)

"Sebastian Barry is the most humane of writers. The leeway is always generous; beauty is mined to its last redemptive glint. Like McNulty, the voice is humorous, compassionate, true. It is his glory as a writer. It is the stern, glorious music of a great novel. - The Irish Times

"A true leftfield wonder: Days Without End is a violent, superbly lyrical western offering a sweeping vision of America in the making, the most fascinating line-by-line first person narration I've come across in years." - Kazuo Ishiguro, Booker Prize winning author of The Remains of the Day and The Buried Giant

"A beautiful, savage, tender, searing work of art. Sentence after perfect sentence it grips and does not let go." - Donal Ryan, author of The Spinning Heart, winner of the Guardian first book award

The information about Days Without End shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Author Information

Sebastian Barry Author Biography

Photo: Jerry Bauer

Sebastian Barry was born in Dublin in 1955 and educated at Trinity College, Dublin. Academically, he has held posts as an Honorary Fellow in Writing at the University of Iowa (1984) and Writer Fellow at Trinity College, Dublin (1995-96). His early plays include Boss Grady's Boys (1990) and The Steward of Christendom (1995), Our Lady of Sligo (1998) and Hinterland (2002). Whistling Psyche (2004), and The Pride of Parnell Street (2007), are two interweaving monologues. His latest play is Tales of Ballycumber (2009).

Barry has also written poetry, including the collections The Water-Colourist (1983) and Fanny Hawke Goes to the Mainland Forever (1989); a novel for children, Elsewhere: the Adventures of Belemus (1985); and short novels, Time Out of Mind/Strappado Square (1983). His novels ...

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