Language and landscape combine powerfully in this tense exploration of life and death, parts of which are based on historical events. A visceral and meditative novel that marks the debut of a stunning new talent.
A tense, thrilling debut novel that spans two continents, from "a writer to watch out for" (Colum McCann).
It's 1832 and Coll Coyle has killed the wrong man. The dead man's father is an expert tracker and ruthless killer with a single-minded focus on vengeance. The hunt leads from the windswept bogs of County Donegal, across the Atlantic to the choleric work camps of the Pennsylvania railroad, where both men will find their fates in the hardship and rough country of the fledgling United States.
Language and landscape combine powerfully in this tense exploration of life and death, parts of which are based on historical events. With lyrical prose balancing the stark realities of the hunter and the hunted, Red Sky in Morning is a visceral and meditative novel that marks the debut of a stunning new talent.
Night sky was black and then there was blood, morning crack of light on the edge of the earth. The crimson spill sent the bright stars to fade, hills stepping out of shadow and clouds finding flesh. First rain of day from a soundless sky and music it made of the land. The trees let slip the mantle of darkness, stretched themselves, fingers of leaves shivering in the breeze, red then goldening rays of light catching. The rain stopped and he heard the birds wake. They blinked and shook their heads and scattered song upon the sky. The land, old and tremulous, turned slowly towards the rising sun.
Coll Coyle was tight with rage and could not admit he was afraid. For hours he watched with dread the creeping birth of morning. Wobbled glass bending the Carnarvan dawn in rivulets of shifting purple, the slow retreat of numb shadow from the walls. He could not speak for a great bank of sorrow.
He lay awake most of the night, dreams snaking shallow and tormented so that for a moment ...
To crack open the cover of Paul Lynch’s debut novel, Red Sky in Morning, and read the first paragraph is to hear the beginning notes of an old melody, resonant and echoing from an ancient landscape. The language seems to come from a time before the written word. It is sonorous, mystical and mythical, and with its forceful cadence, its vivid, startling imagery and word order, the reader is pulled immediately inside the dream.
(Reviewed by Naomi Benaron).
Full Review (842 words).
Before 2004, hikers passing through the woods in Chester County, Pennsylvania in the vicinity of Malvern would have encountered a granite block enclosure with no identifying marker. Perhaps they would have puzzled a moment before walking on. Perhaps they would have heard an odd sound or even caught a glimpse of a specter dancing on the earth, as local lore has it that ghosts inhabit this stretch of the old Philadelphia and Columbia Railroad. In any case, the oddity of the enclosure in an otherwise empty stretch of woods may have led them to wonder about its story.
The story begins in Ireland, in June of 1832. The majority of the Irish population is suffering. Poor and largely living on land rented from English and "Anglo-Irish" ...
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