Monday, February 6, 2012

On Canaan's Side, by Sebastian Barry

Two soul-crushing events steal Lilly Bere's will to live.  One we learn about at the start of the book -- Lilly's beloved grandson Bill has killed himself.  One is revealed at the end.  In between are stories of Lily's long life and many loves, America, Tadg, Callie, Joe, and Mr. Nolan, and the children, Ed and Bill.  These vignettes are interspersed with current day happenings involving Mrs. Wolohan, Lilly's former employer; Mr. Dillinger, the traveler and writer; and Mr. Eugenides, the pharmacist.  The book is presented at Lilly's daily confession during the first 17 days she must live without Bill.  Maybe I'm wrong to hope that Lilly finds something worth living in the sight of the dancing bear.

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