Red Sky in Morning

Paul Lynch. Little, Brown, $25 (288p) ISBN 978-0-316-23025-4
The plot line of this rewarding debut has the feel of a classic American western: in 1832, Coll Coyle kills a powerful local landowner, then flees in fear of frontier justice at the hands of the landlord’s sadistic henchman, John Faller. But Lynch, an Irish writer living in Dublin, has set his story not west of the Mississippi, but in the west of Ireland (a rural area in County Donegal). Coyle leaves his wife and daughter behind and eventually strikes out for America, Faller hot on his heels. Coyle’s sick with fever (pneumonia, or possibly consumption) and endures a frightening, brutal transatlantic passage, but eventually lands in Philadelphia, where he joins other immigrants as laborers on “a new kind of engineering. A locomotive line.” This grim story gets grimmer: his co-workers are dying of cholera, and Faller tracks Coyle down in America as this very literary book moves toward its violent climax. Lynch’s prose is sharply observed, and his themes are elemental and powerful: the violence of existence, the illusion of choice in a fatalistic universe. People, says Faller, “are animals, brutes, blind and stupid.” (Nov. 5)
Reviewed on: 07/08/2013
Release date: 11/05/2013
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FORMATS
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-316-23026-1
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-0-316-23024-7
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