A stunning return from the prize-winning and best-selling author of The Secret Scripture.
Jack McNulty is a 'temporary gentleman', an Irishman whose commission in the British army in the Second World War was never permanent. In 1957, sitting in his lodgings in Accra, he urgently sets out to write his story. He feels he cannot take one step further, or even hardly a breath, without looking back at all that has befallen him.
He is an ordinary man, both petty and heroic, but he has seen extraordinary things. He has worked and wandered around the world - as a soldier, an engineer, a UN observer - trying to follow his childhood ambition to better himself. And he has had a strange and tumultuous marriage. Mai Kirwan was a great beauty of Sligo in the 1920s, a vivid mind, but an elusive and mysterious figure too. Jack married her, and shared his life with her, but in time she slipped from his grasp.
A heart-breaking portrait of one man's life - of his demons and his lost love - The Temporary Gentleman is, ultimately, a novel about Jack's last bid for freedom, from the savage realities of the past and from himself.
Read Caroline Baum's Review
What a fascinating moment Sebastian Barry has chosen to capture in this enigmatic novel about doomed love. Jack McNulty is an Irishman with a commission in the British Army during WW2. A decade later, in his lodgings in Accra, he writes his story in order to understand it. The setting gives him an opportunity to observe colonialism through two lenses while contemplating his tumultuous and tragic marriage. A complex, internal and melancholy novel.
About the Author
Sebastian Barry was born in Dublin in 1955. His novels and plays have won, among other awards, the Kerry Group Irish Fiction Prize, the Costa Book of the Year award, the Irish Book Awards Best Novel, the Independent Booksellers Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. He also had two consecutive novels, A Long Long Way (2005) and The Secret Scripture (2008), shortlisted for the MAN Booker Prize. He lives in Wicklow with his wife and three children.
Number Of Pages: 288
Published: 1st April 2014
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.3 x 2.2
Weight (kg): 0.4
Edition Number: 1