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The Secret Scripture (Paperback)

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October 2009 Indie Next List

“This is a haunting story of memory and how seemingly small decisions can have large consequences. As 100-year-old Roseanne, a patient in a mental institution, tries to reconstruct her life, she realizes that memory is not always reliable, and that truth may not be attainable. In addition to offering readers characters with grace and writing that is mesmerizing, The Secret Scripture invites discussions about what 'truth' is and how cultural circumstances and individual choices define a life.”
— Rona Brinlee, The Book Mark, Atlantic Beach, FL

July 2008 Indie Next List

“Barry's novel of Roseanne McNulty, now in her hundredth year in an Irish mental hospital, is a haunting story of memory and how small decisions can have large consequences. The writing was such a treat that I actually got to the last page late one night and saved it until the next morning. I didn't want to read it until I was fully awake and could relish the end.”
— Rona Brinlee, The Book Mark, Atlantic Beach, FL


An epic story of family, love, and unavoidable tragedy from the two-time Man Booker Prize finalist
Sebastian Barry 's novels have been hugely admired by readers and critics, and in 2005 his novel "A Long Long Way" was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. In "The Secret Scripture," Barry revisits County Sligo, Ireland, the setting for his previous three books, to tell the unforgettable story of Roseanne McNulty. Once one of the most beguiling women in Sligo, she is now a resident of Roscommon Regional Mental Hospital and nearing her hundredth year. Set against an Ireland besieged by conflict, "The Secret Scripture" is an engrossing tale of one woman's life, and a vivid reminder of the stranglehold that the Catholic church had on individuals throughout much of the twentieth century.
Soon to be a film starring Jessica Chastain and Vanessa Redgrave.

About the Author

Sebastian Barry s plays have been produced in London, Dublin, Sydney, and New York. His novel A Long, Long Way was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, as was The Secret Scripture, which was also a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist and winner of the Costa Book of the Year Award and the James Tait Black Prize for Fiction, as well as the Irish Novel of the Year. Barry lives in Wicklow, Ireland, with his wife and three children.

Praise For…

" [Barry writes] in language of surpassing beauty. . . . It is like a song, with all the pulse of the Irish language, a song sung liltingly and plaintively from the top of Ben Bulben into the airy night."
-Dinitia Smith, The New York Times

" Barry recounts all this in prose of often startling beauty. Just as he describes people stopping in the street to look at Roseanne, so I often found myself stopping to look at the sentences he gave her, wanting to pause and copy them down."
-Margot Livesey, The Boston Globe

"Luminous and lyrical."
-O, The Oprah Magazine

Product Details
ISBN: 9780143115694
ISBN-10: 0143115693
Publisher: Penguin Books
Publication Date: April 28th, 2009
Pages: 300
Language: English