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The Dark by McGahern, John (2008)

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Book details

  • PDF | Unknown pages
  • Faber & Faber
  • Unknown
  • 6
  • Other books

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Review Text

  • By A Rochester on December 31, 2014

    I was disappointed in The Dark. The writing is well done and the storyhas a foreign feel. Since the book was banned in Ireland I expectedto understand why it was banned. I have NO idea, maybe because itis not a 100% positive betrayal of Catholic Priests. I suspect politicssince it is not obvious to the reader why it was banned . This is thestory of a father /son relationship. The father is hard, the son brilliant.However, I felt the son to be weak. All he wanted to do was leave homeand get away from his dad. He had opportunities and could never make a decision.Before the book ended I wanted to shake the son and say make a decision---right or wrong. When it came time for a final plan, the boy turned to his Dad for advice.His dad was excitable, and ran hot and cold. Both father and son were insecure and fearful. The book actually may be literature but it did not please this reader.I don't think we are ever told the son's name---strange. If so, I do not remember his name.

  • By A Reader on August 2, 2016

    A great, great book by master storyteller John McGahern. It resembles, in many ways, his other masterpiece "Amongst Women," but I liked this one more. The same father figure, violent, abusive, self-pitying, reveals within himself a capacity for love. That dichotomy is incredibly moving. The opening chapter is one of the most disturbing I can remember reading -- I felt like I couldn't breathe. This book is not for the faint of heart, especially those who can't stomach reading passages of sexual violence or sexual obsessions (and it's not for anyone with a fixed idea of religious behavior). But still, this is a beautiful, worthy, masterfully written book.

  • By K.N.R. on August 13, 2014

    A boy struggles through life, as most do; but through an angry, abusive father and his own wayward journey along the precipitous ledge of adolescent. Taking care of his sister, deciding on being a priest or not, many turns and many consequences. A very sad little novel where father and son grow together. At one point the son exclaims that he, the father, is older and unable to do the work he used to, which shocks the poor son. Through the stress of getting a scholarship and leaving that cursed farm, he may triumph. shortly after though the book ends with him on a new road, a new road all alone. Written in an interesting style of "you" taking the place of "I", one finds that the narrator is trying to distance himself or trying to relate to other human beings. Short chapters with bits of thought and action lead to an overall monumental blow against the struggles of the common man. Though at times life is fun, there is always that buzz of uncertainty and hatred.

  • By CA on November 10, 2015

    John McGahern's the Dark, published by Faber and Faber in 1965, is powerfully and purely a novel of tensions. In essence, the writer's sophomore work depicts a narrative of stringent, unraveling oppositions reflected by an external and internal interplay of competing voices. Given these calculated and pronounced oppositions, the conventional singular narrative voice is broken, yet satisfyingly restored to a idiosyncratic, atypical, and binal voice of "bodies" -- first the internal, intimate, and personal body, and second the more fluid, complex body politic.The novel's ultimate success is systematically and dynamically shaped by this conflicted binary voice, and as result, through the frayed discourse, McGahern is able to tailor a narrative hell-bent on begging the question -- what does it mean to be flesh?Read it.

  • By Ron B on February 5, 2008

    I was looking forward to reading this based on the reviews but was quite disappointed. The books takes a lot for granted and makes jumps in the story that are not supported. If this represents John McGahern then I doubt I will be reading anything else from the author.

  • By John T. Callahan on July 7, 2008

    A short, ugly, sad account of a young Irish boy's progress through adolescence. Written in the Irish idiom, its meanings are difficult to understand especially to one speaking American English. A long struggle of a read ending in disappointment. I am of Irish descent and had hoped to learn something of the Irish culture. Unfortunately with that endeavor in mind I purchased three of his novels, I hope "The Dark" is not an indication of the content of the other two.


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