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Goat Song (Englisch)

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Format: Taschenbuch
I put off reading A Goat's Song because of what it's about. The basic story is, to say the least, unpromising, at least to me. Alcoholic playwright Jack Ferris is desperate to get back together with his actress girlfriend. He lives in a small village in the west of Ireland (uh-oh, goes my Instant Irishness Alert). He waits for a message from her. At the beginning of the book, he's got it; she's coming home. Yay for him! He waits for her to turn up. And waits. And waits.
The novel flashes back to show the whole of Jack and his girlfriend's life together, and then flashes back further to Catherine's childhood in Northern Ireland, where her father was a policeman. Gradually, in a way that I can only describe as Tolstoyan, Healy manages to cover decades of Irish history as experienced from both the centre and the edge. Catherine's father, a Protestant RUC man, takes part in suppressing a civil rights demonstration and is then shocked to see himself on telly beating a man to the ground with his truncheon. The book wheels in its remorseless course (one of the best things about it is that while it has a strong air of being at least semi-autobiographical, there isn't a shred of special pleading or sentimentality about it) until we get back to the present.
Healy is brilliant at putting you in the same room as his characters and having you think their thoughts. The accounts of Jack and Catherine's wild drinking bouts are, ahem, painfully familiar. His prose is strong and lucid without ever indulging in irritating bits of semi-poetic landscape painting in the Proulx manner.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x97531204) von 5 Sternen 14 Rezensionen
16 von 16 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x9756800c) von 5 Sternen The best Irish book of the past thirty years 25. April 2000
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
I put off reading A Goat's Song because of what it's about. The basic story is, to say the least, unpromising, at least to me. Alcoholic playwright Jack Ferris is desperate to get back together with his actress girlfriend. He lives in a small village in the west of Ireland (uh-oh, goes my Instant Irishness Alert). He waits for a message from her. At the beginning of the book, he's got it; she's coming home. Yay for him! He waits for her to turn up. And waits. And waits.
The novel flashes back to show the whole of Jack and his girlfriend's life together, and then flashes back further to Catherine's childhood in Northern Ireland, where her father was a policeman. Gradually, in a way that I can only describe as Tolstoyan, Healy manages to cover decades of Irish history as experienced from both the centre and the edge. Catherine's father, a Protestant RUC man, takes part in suppressing a civil rights demonstration and is then shocked to see himself on telly beating a man to the ground with his truncheon. The book wheels in its remorseless course (one of the best things about it is that while it has a strong air of being at least semi-autobiographical, there isn't a shred of special pleading or sentimentality about it) until we get back to the present.
Healy is brilliant at putting you in the same room as his characters and having you think their thoughts. The accounts of Jack and Catherine's wild drinking bouts are, ahem, painfully familiar. His prose is strong and lucid without ever indulging in irritating bits of semi-poetic landscape painting in the Proulx manner. The end of the book is almost too painful to read, and yet you're left not with the sense of having been dropped in fictional muck but with a real catharsis, and a huge admiration for the art with which Healy has constructed the novel. (It's fair to compare Healy's structural ingenuity with that of Nabokov.)
Healy had written some poetry and some pretty good fiction before, but God knows where he pulled this one from. The title comes from the meaning of the Greek origin of the word "tragedy", and it's deserved. In my opinion, the most beautifully written Irish novel - without ever being pointlessly "Beautiful" - since peak-period Beckett. And I don't mean that lightly.
His memoir, A Bend for Home, is also extraordinary, and a far better-written and intelligent book than the ludicrously over-hyped Angela's Ashes.
14 von 14 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x97568474) von 5 Sternen Every time you weep 20. August 2000
Von taking a rest - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
"Every time you weep in a theatre you're listening to a goat singing."
This is the Author, Dermot Healy, explaining through the playwright/protagonist Jack Ferris, what Jack's trade is. As I have now read this second book by Mr. Healy, after completing "Sudden Times", it also is an apt description of the Author as well. You cannot categorize nor summarize what Mr. Healy creates and then relates to readers in a word, or two, or four. Just as with the fictional Jack Harris, an explanation is needed, and not just an ordinary statement, but also a demonstration of not only the wide knowledge, but also the true understanding the Author commands of his knowledge to exacting detail. The exchange that follows is Jack's half of a conversation with Catherine who wants to know what he does. After the lines below she still has no clue, and neither did I. However by the bottom of the page not only do we learn what he does, but its origins, a bit about Greek theatre, and even that goats cannot swim.
"I do a spot of writing."
"Plays, I'm interested in plays"
"I pen songs of the buck. Billy Tunes"
"Goat Song's"
Now if this Author's prose is compared to what we normally would read, "What do you do?" I write plays, tragedies", you begin to gain an appreciation of just how special this man's literary gifts are. The example I share is not the exception with his work rather it is the rule. These are not clever sounds bites surrounded by mediocrity, this man consistently writes with a level of expertise, which is remarkable. It has been mentioned that the first section is overly long, and at first it appears to be. However once you are into the balance of the book, extending to the very end, the first section underpins the entire tale.
There is a single or perhaps singular event that symbolizes much of what takes place in the book. It is not the death that is the issue, it is the symbolism of the location, the deceased's relationship with the institutions that bracket his death, and the man, and his Daughter Catherine, who live with those realities, or will live with the lingering effects in Catherine's case, that make the event so pivotal.
Mr. Healy's created worlds and the people that inhabit them are generally not people the reader would enthusiastically change places with, if places changed at all, ever. His creations are troubled people, not necessarily in a unique manner as they are the result of a Country divided by violence, Religious based hatred, and hundred of years of pain both suffered and inflicted. In certain key events it is the characters themselves who are at the center of the violence that they and the next generation will continue to suffer for, through guilt, paranoia, prejudice, and anger that borders on hatred. As if to ensure the events can never be properly dealt with, abuse of alcohol guarantees that melancholia will be as contented as these otherwise miserable people are. Even here the abusive drinking is not just a standard Irish cliché, the author makes these characters more complex by bringing you right along side their thoughts as he always does. He lets the reader experience the mental anguish that at times borders on psychotic.
Mr. Healy has the gift of immersing the reader in a story that is not necessarily fantastic, and certainly not contrived. He continually demonstrates that the people he creates are all too familiar, that daily life is not grindingly repetitive but fascinating.
It is no wonder at all that top writers speak of this man's work in terms of absolute praise of the highest order. That they are gifted, proven writers, who praise his work above their own, make their endorsements all the more impressive.
12 von 12 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x97568498) von 5 Sternen Beautiful, but heart breaking 8. Mai 2000
Von Twohounds - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
"Goat's song" is the literal translation of the word "tragedy." There is no better way to sum up this book than a beautiful, heart wrenching tragedy.
The book follows the life of playwright Jack Ferris as he loves, loses, remembers, and recounts the early life of Catherine, an aspiring actress. The tone of the book is so personal, it felt as if Healy were writing from experience. Healy writes beautifully, oftening slipping into a sort of stream of consciousness to bring the reader into the liquor induced insanity Jack so often experiences. He conveys the desperation of the characters and their emotional, almost physical, pain in such an immediate way, I felt truly depressed as I got deeper into the book. The story begins with the ending, jumps to the beginning, then progresses inexorably towards the heartache you know is to come. The book's ending is simply perfect.
An added bonus to the beautifully told story is the wonderful peek into Irish life. The book is set in Northern Ireland before and during the troubles, as well as in the Republic of Ireland, both in the city and in an ancient village. As an American, it was a delight to read the many voices of the Irish people. However, I ran into some difficulty with the politics. Healy uses RUC/Provo, Loyalist/Republican, Protestant/Catholic interchangably and without explanation, so if you have no frame of reference for the politics of Northern Ireland, it is easy to get lost in the terms. However, that may have been by design, as Healy tried to convey the subtleties and complexities of living in the midst of revolution.
I truly enjoyed the emotional ride of this book. While I quite often disliked the characters, I couldn't help but feel compassion for them.
9 von 9 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x975687bc) von 5 Sternen Painful in its honesty 2. Mai 2000
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This was such a painful book to read. Not because it reminded me of personal nightmare experiences, but because those of the characters were so real. The brutal peak into their lives was almost embarrassing -- like a car crash from which you can not turn away. A beautifully written book.
HASH(0x97568624) von 5 Sternen Its a Dream 5. April 2015
Von Amazon Customer - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
An amazing journey though an alcoholic haze of self delusion and self loathing, with surprisingly warm and tender moments. It reads like an epic poem. The death of Catherine's father is especially moving. Give it try, get lost in Bellmullet in the west of Ireland for while.
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