The Faber Shop is temporarily closed. Sign up to Faber Members to be first to know when we're reopening.

The Secret Scripture

The Secret Scripture

ISBN
9780571323951
Published
05/03/2015
9780571323951
Format
Paperback
Price
£8.99
Paperback
320

About the Book

Nearing her one-hundredth birthday, Roseanne McNulty faces an uncertain future, as the Roscommon Regional Mental hospital where she's spent the best part of her adult life prepares for closure. Over the weeks leading up to this upheaval, she talks often with her psychiatrist Dr Grene, and their relationship intensifies and complicates.

Told through their respective journals, the story that emerges is at once shocking and deeply beautiful. Refracted through the haze of memory and retelling, Roseanne's story becomes an alternative, secret history of Ireland's changing character and the story of a life blighted by terrible mistreatment and ignorance, and yet marked still by love and passion and hope.

Nearing her one-hundredth birthday, Roseanne McNulty faces an uncertain future, as the Roscommon Regional Mental hospital where she's spent the best part of her adult life prepares for closure. Over the weeks leading up to this upheaval, she talks often with her psychiatrist Dr Grene, and their relationship intensifies and complicates. Told through their respective journals, the story that emerges is at once shocking and deeply beautiful. Refracted through the haze of memory and retelling, Roseanne's story becomes an alternative, secret history of Ireland's changing character and the story of a life blighted by terrible mistreatment and ignorance, and yet marked still by love and passion and hope.
  • Sebastian Barry

    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.

    Photo credit: ©Alan Betson, The Irish Times 

“'Roseanne McNulty is almost a century old and has been imprisoned in a mental institution in the west of Ireland for many decades. But with the hospital facing closure, her psychiatrist Dr Grene conducts a series of interviews with her to assess her suitability for release into the community. Through the accounts that each of them keep of their meetings, Sebastian Barry allows a horrifying tale of death, duplicity and deception to unfold, as it becomes clear Roseanne has become tragically enmeshed in the tangles web of Ireland's history, politics and religion.'”
- London Review of Books
“'People persist with ordinary life, because there is no other sort of life." Yet ordinary lives meander and circle and overflow and sometimes turn upside down; none of which can even begin to give a flavour of the breathtaking sinuosity of Sebastian Barry's fourth novel. It is narrated by Roseanne McNulty, who has been in a mental hospital for much of her life, and by her psychiatrist Dr Grene. Roseanne is ancient - maybe 100, nobody knows - and her doctor is distracted, both by grief at the death of his wife and alarm at the imminent closure of his asylum. They are, as the saying has it, a right pair; and they carry our interest and empathy as the storyline shifts and twists along the byways of Irish history and the ancient, secret paths of the human mind. The bookies' favourite for last year's Man Booker Prize, The Secret Scripture has just won the overall 2008 Costa Book of the Year award. "Exquisite...mesmerising...memorable...unique". Take your pick of the adjectives; just don't be put off by the hype. This is a great book by, arguably, our greatest living novelist.'”
- Irish Times

Books by this Author

A Long Long Way

A Long Long Way

Sebastian Barry

Fiction The Temporary Gentleman

The Temporary Gentleman

Sebastian Barry

The Temporary Gentleman

The Temporary Gentleman

Sebastian Barry

The Temporary Gentleman

The Temporary Gentleman

Sebastian Barry