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McLaverty's novel of "the troubles" in Northern Ireland, first published in 1983, has become a classic. Young Cal McCluskey is haunted by the role he played in the murder of a policeman yet struggles to detach from the IRA. Matters get worse when Cal falls for the local librarian who, he later learns, is the policeman's widow. As their romance heats up, he is saddened by the knowledge that their relationship is doomed: both of them have stated their belief in 100% honesty between partners, but Cal knows that 100% honesty will destroy them.
'Cal' depicts the horrors of the continuing conflict betwen Catholics and Protestants: beatings, fire-bombings, land minds, shattered families and shattered psyches. Overall, a finely written and very moving novel. David Threlfall is a very reader.
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Was Cal worth the listening time?
Because it was a book I read for school I had to read it...
Any additional comments?
It was an ok book that brought in the catholic and protestant feud in Ireland. It was exciting in one way because of the romeo and Juliet love in the story and the hidden secrets.
Would you consider the audio edition of Cal to be better than the print version?
Not having read the book, I really enjoyed this audiobook.
What was one of the most memorable moments of Cal?
The underlying tension of not knowing how or when Cal's past would come back to bite him.
What do you think the narrator could have done better?
The story is set in Northern Ireland. Someone should have reminded the narrator. The character accents he created where really poor. How could he have got them so wrong? The IRA terrorists sounded more southern Irish and country bumpkin than in any way sinister and threatening. Marcella was supposed to be from Portstewart, on the Antrim coast, not some part of upclass England. I found the accents were so far off the mark they were very irritating. Sorry. Maybe if I wasn't Northern Irish I would not have been so hung up on this throughout the great storyline.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
The sectarian bigotry and backdrop was a disturbing reminder from the past throughout the book. The main characters in the book manage to rise above it in a ways that may seem normal to everyone who did not grow up during the troubles in Northern Ireland. I found this aspect of the storyline to be moving. Basic human need is ultimately more powerful.
Any additional comments?
This book is a quick listen and terrific listen. I was so absorbed that I didn't realise how close I was to the end. So when it did, I couldn't believe how abrupt the ending was. I'll listen to it again, and forgive the narrator again. Not even he could ruin a brilliant story.