I have written about Sebastian Barry previously, as one of a number of Irish authors whose fiction I like a great deal. On Canaan’s Side is his eighth novel, and follows the very successful Secret Scripture, which won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction and Costa Book of the Year, and was shortlisted for the 2008 Man Booker Prize, narrowly losing out to Aravind Adiga's The White Tiger. On Canaan’s Side has already been longlisted for this year’s Booker Prize ahead of publication, but it would certainly have been my choice for this week in any case. It is published in hardcover only by Faber and Faber on 4th August (although interestingly the Kindle edition was released on 22nd July, making this the true first. However, not much use to a collector!). There will also be 100 signed and numbered copies quarter bound in calf skin and contained in a matching slipcase, at £100 each.
"Narrated by Lilly Bere, On Canaan’s Side opens as she mourns the loss of her grandson, Bill. The story then goes back to the moment she was forced to flee Dublin, at the end of the First World War, and follows her life through into the new world of America, a world filled with both hope and danger.
At once epic and intimate, Lilly’s narrative unfurls as she tries to make sense of the sorrows and troubles of her life and of the people whose lives she has touched. Spanning nearly seven decades, it is a novel of memory, war, family-ties and love, which once again displays Sebastian Barry's exquisite prose and gift for storytelling."