This Is the Way

Gavin Corbett. FSG/Faber and Faber, $26 (230p) ISBN 978-0-86547-891-6
Irish writer Corbett's second novel introduces Anthony Sonaghan, a member of Ireland's travelling—or gypsy—community. Anthony is "[lying] low for a time" in Dublin, amongst the "settled people." What he's hiding from is a long history of bad blood between the two ruling travelling families, the Sonaghans and the Gillaroos, a history which culminated in his brother's recent suicide. In Dublin, Anthony meets Judith Neill, a librarian, who gives him a notebook and encourages him to write down his family history. Though Judith genuinely admires Anthony as representative of a vanishing culture in need of preservation, when she invites him and his uncle Arthur, who has come to live with him, to her home in a posh part of town, they feel patronized by her intellectual friends and she discovers, just like many before her, that there are consequences to crossing a Sonaghan. Uncle Arthur is present for much of the novel, though he does little to illuminate Anthony's character or drive the narrative forward, which gives it a certain inertia at times. But this book is about voice, and Corbett is brilliant at creating an utterly original—and beautiful—language to portray this young man's alienation from the world. An inventive and beguiling book. Agent: PJ Mark, Janklow & Nesbit Associates. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/11/2013
Release date: 03/05/2013
Paperback - 230 pages - 978-0-86547-807-7
Paperback - 230 pages - 978-0-00-747597-1
Hardcover - 240 pages - 978-0-00-747667-1
Ebook - 240 pages - 978-0-86547-892-3
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