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Blood-Dark Track (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 30. April 2009

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In a literary age awash with father-fixation, Joseph O'Neill goes back a generation to recall the lives of not just one but both his grandfathers. This is not mere indulgence: their experiences connect beyond their mutual grandson, and bear comparison with each other. On the one side was Joseph Dakad, a Christian Turk living in the port of Mersin, running a hotel and an import-export business. Jim O'Neill was a Corkman with a fiercely republican heart, who supplemented his graft with salmon poaching. Both grew up among conflict and prejudice, and both suffered at the hands of the British in the Second World War: Joseph was imprisoned as a spy in British-controlled Palestine after a misconceived business trip to import lemons, while Jim was interned in the Curragh as an IRA terrorist. However, the circumstantial meat, or fruit in Joseph's case, of their lives in these famously hospitable, yet divided, countries had remained shrouded by a veil of silence for decades.

While the impressively researched detail owes much to his legal training, O'Neill reconstructs his grandfathers' lives with the literary flair of the talented novelist he also is (The Breezes, and This is the Life), yet without ever losing sight of contemporary contexts such as the Good Friday Agreement, and the continuing turmoil in the Middle East. As an outsider with an "in", the conclusions he draws are subtle, profound, and in places bravely troubling, such as when considering the assassination of Protestants by Catholic extremists in the Irish Republic, and the Turkish massacre of the Armenians, of which each man respectively probably had knowledge. In identifying the unavoidable political stitch in the personal weave, though, he seeks to free both men from their exile in silence, if only, as he conjectures with admirable self-scrutiny, to perhaps "lock them up in words as a punishment for the hurt silence which they'd bequeathed my parents". The sense, however, in this splendid account, is of liberation; both of their stories, and from a silence that speaks louder than words could ever imprison. --David Vincent -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.


'He uncovers fascinating parallels between the two men, illuminating the ways in which individual lives mesh with history' Sunday Times 'This is a beautifully written and complicated book, in which difficult perceptions are expressed with forensic honesty' Sunday Telegraph 'His thoroughness and energy are phenomenal' London Review of Books 'Blood-Dark Track moves adroitly between Ireland and the Middle East, and interlaces O'Neill's own quest to discover what his grandfathers were up to with fascinating and unfamiliar insights into the history of their times...the result is riveting' Sunday Express 'Surprisingly, considering this charged material, Joseph O'Neill manages to construct an elaborate, patient, almost detached memoir. This is a stealthy, evidential enterprise...a big cat of a book. It creeps up on you, then pounces. And once it has you in its grip, watch out, because it doesn't let go in a hurry' Evening Standard

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Amazon.com: 8 Rezensionen
17 von 17 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
an extraordinary book 17. Januar 2002
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This is one of the finest books published in many years. On the surface the book tells the stories of O'Neill's grandfathers. Both stories are of interest, both touch on historical events of interest; but it is the softness and absolute intelligence of O'Neill's voice that makes this book a classic. In relating the experiences of his grandfathers, O'Neill takes us through his own intellectual struggle as he attempts to apply the rational tools of the barrister/philosopher to the world of strong ethnic identities that haunted him from the world of his grandparents. If this were not enough, O'Neill treats us to a rather fine sense of humor -- again, never obvious but always there and always effective.
12 von 12 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Fascinating Personal and Historical Account 11. März 2002
Von Gordon S. Linoff - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
"Blood Dark Track" provides a fascinating background into the history of both Ireland and Turkey during the first half of the Twentieth Century. These two very disparate regions actually have more in common than we would initially suppose: neutrality during WWII, an antipathy to British Imperialism, persecution of religious minorities, and layers upon layers of history underlying bloody Twentieth Century history.
These areas also combine in the persona of the author, Joseph O'Neill, who has provided an intriguing personal narrative of his own family. His father's side, Catholic, poor, and Republican from Cork; his mother's, Catholic, bourgeois, and apolitical from Mersin (a coastal city near Syria). Their meeting is as fortuitous as it was unlikely.
The author deftly melds the pieces into a coherent whole, despite geographic, cultural, and temporal distances. Because of the personal connection of the author to events, people, and places, it reads more like a novel than a history.
Informing the story is the author's discovery of his grandfathers, both as family and as characters in two distinct, though subtly parallel, historical contexts. I was surprised to find the story so gripping that I finished it in three days.
12 von 12 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A Fabulous Book 8. November 2002
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
I simply could not put this book down. Much more than an entertaining portrait of early 20th century life in some remote places, this is a highly informative social and political history and a compelling reflection on nationalism, patriotism and the fears, violence and intrigues which sometimes accompany them. Mr. O'Neill obviously has talents for both research and scene-painting, and his writing is both literate and engaging. After 340 pages, I was sorry to put the book away. But I feel wiser now that I have made the journey with Mr. O'Neill.
9 von 9 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Brilliant tale of darkness and historical "truth" 26. Januar 2002
Von Mick Gold - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This is a brilliant book. The author searches for the reasons why his two grandfathers - one Irish, one Turkish - both ended up in prison during the Second World War. His Turkish grandfather, Joseph Dakad, was interned by the British in Palestine on suspicion of spying for the Germans. His Irish grandfather, Jim O'Neill, was interned by his own government in the Curragh as a member of the IRA. By subtly intercutting the two stories, the book looks at nationalism in two very different contexts - the polyglot post-Ottoman culture of Turkey in the years between the two world wars, and the hidden story of Irish republicanism between De Valera coming to power and the resumption of The Troubles in 1966. In searching for the reasons why these two very different men were interned, O'Neill illuminates the unspoken ideas of nationalism and individuality that permeate (like DNA)the two sides of his family. While he sifts through British intelligence reports on "undesirable" activity in Jerusalem, and discovers who really murdered Admiral Somerville in West Cork in 1936, O'Neill's book is shot through with contemporary echoes of his grandfathers' ordeals. As the author watches Bernadette Sands reject the Good Friday Agreement in the name of Ireland's republican martyrs, and questions Yitzhak Shamir about the morality of political assassination, we realise that the ghosts of these men still haunt today's headlines, and our ancestors can assume the power of an unconscious force over our political reflexes.
6 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Interesting, Well researched, great read 5. September 2001
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
O'Neill's "split" background led to an interesting life and a fascinating family history. Great read. Would like to get my hands on his other books. Picked up this book in February and missed his book signing in Dublin by hours. Would really like to know how long it took him to intricately research the book.
must read for Irish history buffs, Turkish history buffs, or WWII.
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