Celebrated Irish author Dermot Healy’s first novel in more than ten years is a rich, beguiling, compassionate, and wonderfully funny story about community, family, love, and bonds across generations.
Set in an isolated coastal town in northwest Ireland, Long Time, No See centers around an unforgettable cast of innocents and wounded, broken misfits. The story is narrated by a young man known as Mister Psyche who takes up with and is then drawn into a series of bemusing and unsettling misadventures with two men some fifty years his senior—his grand uncle Joejoe and Joejoe’s neighbor The Blackbird—wonderful, eccentric characters full of ancient jealousies and grudges and holding some very dark secrets.
Written with great lyrical power and a vivid sense of place and published to rapturous reviews in England and Ireland, Long Time, No See is a sad-comic tapestry of life and death that celebrates the incredibly rich lives of ordinary people.
About Dermot Healy
Dermot Healy is the author of three novels (including A Goat’s Song), a memoir, a collection of stories, and five volumes of poetry. His prizes include the Hennessey Award for Short Stories, the Tom Gallon Award, and the Encore Award. He was the winner of the 2002 America Ireland Literary Award, which was funded by the America Ireland Fund and given in recognition of his contribution to Irish letters.
Philip Feeney, also known as Mister Psyche, lives in the village of Ballintra on the Atlantic with his Da, a handyman, and his Ma, a hospital nurse. While waiting for his junior college exam results and doing odd jobs, he looks after his granduncle, Joejoe, who lives alone. He makes his tea and reads to him from the Bible and even scratches his back (the old man has psoriasis). Joejoe’s other visitor is known as the Blackbird, a loner slipping into his dotage like Joejoe. Then a shocking event occurs. A bullet is fired through Joejoe’s window. The old man suspects another neighbor, the General, nursing a 50-year-old grudge over a woman, but that’s ridiculous. Philip’s Da believes the Blackbird is the shooter, but has no proof. It will only be much later that the surprising truth emerges. The old men represent an ancient culture that in 2006 eurozone Ireland is vanishing; Poles and Lithuanians have arrived, looking for work. Much of the novel is beautifully captured dialogue, though Philip seldom says more than two words at a time. He professes not to have an interior life. Part of him has closed down, and only scattered hints tell us why. A year before, his close friend Mickey Brady, driving drunk, died in an accident. Frustratingly for the reader, and surely too for Philip’s loyal girlfriend, Anna, the catharsis never comes; the balance is off. When he’s not looking after Joejoe, Philip devotes his energy to building a wall for his mother’s future vegetable garden; it’s a symbol of regeneration. The novel’s second half is increasingly elegiac as the two mutually dependent old-timers totter toward the grave. – Kirkus Reviews
Long Time, No See By DERMOT HEALY
Barnes & Noble Reviews – July 12, 2012 (Excerpt)
The English language as spoken by the Irish calls up a far different world from the one found coming out of other Englishes, American or British. Rich with animistic conceits and logical twists, it tends toward speculativeness and seems a little wary of what it describes, as if there might be a secret side to things. This language’s take on the world, one quite unscathed by Occam’s razor, may be found in all its imaginative force in the pages of poet and novelist Dermot Healy’s Long Time, No See, a novel of strange sweetness and muted emotion.
Set in 2006, in and around a little coastal town on the Northwest coast of Ireland, the story, such as it is — for there is little plot, though much incident — is told by Philip, a boy just out of high school. He is in a state of suspension, not only waiting for the results of his exams but also drifting in isolating sadness over the death of a friend in a car crash. He spends his days working odd jobs for money and offering a helping hand to all and sundry. The chief objects of his care are the novel’s other central characters, his granduncle, Joejoe, and the Blackbird, Joejoe’s particular friend. Both men are old, stubborn, and filled with crochets; both address the world in language that grants each thing more creaturely identity, individuality, and powers of agency than do most other tongues: “Be God,” says Joejoe when Philip’s father replaces a pane of glass in his window, “I think it lets in a better class of light than before.” [Read the full article...]
THE BLEEDING HILLS A Novel by Wilfried F. Voss
I have fought a good fight,
I have finished my course,
I have kept the faith. - 2 Timothy iv. 7
The Irish War is officially a part of history, but not for Finnean Whelan, an IRA veteran of almost 40 years. British Intelligence has produced evidence that he is the mastermind behind a conspiracy to assassinate the First Minister of Northern Ireland. For Whelan this is not only a mission of revenge, but marks the beginning of a journey into the past and the return to the one true love: Ireland. [More...]
We are the only country that makes guns, including military-style assault weapons, available to anyone who wants to buy them. This is not freedom. It is a tyranny of death and destruction — a tyranny of which the National Rifle Association is proud. The Washington Post
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