The Secret Scripture – Sebastian Barry

secret scripturesREAD FOR BOOKERTHON

Nearing her 100th birthday, Roseanne McNulty faces an uncertain future, as the Roscommon Regional Mental hospital where she’s spent the best part of her adult life prepares for closure.

♥ “Set against an Ireland besieged by conflict, The Secret Scripture is a tale of a 100-year-old woman’s life, and a vivid reminder of the stranglehold the Catholic church had on individuals throughout much of the twentieth century.

In the weeks leading up to the closure of the Mental Hospital, Roseanne McNulty speaks often with her psychiatrist Dr Grene, who must decide who of his patients are to be transferred, and who must be released into the community. He is particularly concerned about Roseanne, and begins tentatively to attempt to discover her history. 

“Told through their respective journals, the story that emerges is both shocking and beautiful. Refracted through the haze of memory and retelling, Roseanne’s story becomes an alternative, secret history of Ireland’s changing character and the story of a life blighted by terrible mistreatment and ignorance, and yet still marked by love and hope.

It is very difficult to be a hero without an audience, although, in a sense, we are each the hero of a peculiar, half-ruined film called our life.

♥ “Irish conflict usually doesn’t hold my attention, but the centenarian, Roseanne McNulty, in The Secret Scripture steals the limelight and helps build the poignant tale about loss and broken promises. Her voice is both compounding and personable at the same time, revealing much in her story fragments. Barry’s style is beautiful and highly sensory, a story where every word counts.” – Rachel

Published 2008
Faber & Faber
312 pages

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