The Dark John McGahern The Dark John McGahern s second novel The Dark confirmed and enhanced the reputation he gained with his first The Barracks The scene is set in rural Ireland and the central theme is adolescence impelled fo
  • Title: The Dark
  • Author: John McGahern
  • ISBN: 9780571225675
  • Page: 117
  • Format: Paperback
The Dark John McGahernJohn McGahern s second novel, The Dark, confirmed and enhanced the reputation he gained with his first, The Barracks The scene is set in rural Ireland and the central theme is adolescence, impelled forward by ambition and sexuality, guilty and uncontrollable, contorted and twisted by a puritanical and passionate religion and, above all, by a strange, powerful, ambiguous rJohn McGahern s second novel, The Dark, confirmed and enhanced the reputation he gained with his first, The Barracks The scene is set in rural Ireland and the central theme is adolescence, impelled forward by ambition and sexuality, guilty and uncontrollable, contorted and twisted by a puritanical and passionate religion and, above all, by a strange, powerful, ambiguous relationship between son and widower father Against a background evoked with quiet, undemonstrative mastery, McGahern explores with precision and tenderness a situation superficially very ordinary but inwardly an agony of longing and despair.
The Dark John McGahern

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One Reply to “The Dark”

  1. Bristling with the threat of violence from the outset, the opening chapter is one of the most disturbing and claustrophobic I have read The father in the book is a bitter man, his moods uneven and extreme, and as a consequence his children live in fear of him and punish him the only way they can by shutting him out of their lives as much as possible His feeling of isolation is something that compounds the misery within the farmhouse walls it begets isolation in each of his kids, although the boo [...]

  2. This is probably the most intense and sad book I ever read.From the very first page you are drawn into a really nastyand uncomfortable scene which really sets the mood in a veryhard and upsetting way.At this point you realise the title of the book is just perfect.This book is not an easy book to read as it mostly tells ofthe relationship between a tough,hard and abusive father andhis adolescent son.But it is absolutely brilliant I have never read anything so powerful that left you with a lumpin [...]

  3. I began reading The Dark for banned book week as it had been banned in Ireland and it is easy to see why the book made them uneasy It is a bleak window into the world of the Irish adolescent male in the middle of the century in rural Ireland, its a story about a young man who in spite of the many things he has going for him, ends up crushed under the wheel of the society that bore him It deals frankly with many controversial subjects, adolescent sexuality, parental abuse it contains possibly the [...]

  4. A met la mia aspettativa era che si trasformasse in un horror col padre che ammazza tutti e li fa morire proprio male E come molte aspettative ha fatto quella fine l Niente da fare 56 100

  5. John McGahern is one of those wonderful writers who while somewhat appreciated in their time, his excellent novel Against Women was shortlisted for the Booker Prize never achieved the fame they deserved The Dark is my second McGahern novel after Amongst Women and as the title aptly puts it, is very dark indeed Much like in Against Women , one of the focal points of the novel is an overbearing, tyrannical, and abusive father, raising children on his own In Against Women the father figure was verb [...]

  6. It s not a reading experience for everybody, but if you attempt it, it is eminently worthwhile and utterly unforgettable This was quick, and riveting, and hard, and beautiful Story of a boy becoming a man, as the oldest in a family held together by an angry and hurting widowed father Who loves But in a way that seems so backwards and thwarted to me Very spare, and well told With grace and sadness throughout.

  7. I was introduced to this book when we read its first page at a workshop, and it had me hooked From the first words, McGahern was able to mirror the dark, claustrophobic and oppressed world of 1960 s rural Ireland The story begins with a father forcing his son to strip for allegedly cursing, bend over a chair and await thrashing, while his siblings watch in terror It s a coming of age novel, a bildungsroman in its traditional sense but unlike one that you might have read before The book was banne [...]

  8. In this novel, McGahern shows a motherless family ruled by a violent narcissist There is no counter to his demands, and the children are almost completely cowed Mahoney s relationship with his son is disturbing, and the boy s development is a terrible slog He studies to the exclusion of all else except his ordinary adolescent lusts, and is torn between his desire for a sensual life and his possible vocation in the priesthood Everything is done with the goal of ending his dependence on his father [...]

  9. En esta bildungsroman poco al uso, McGahern expone con una crudeza expl cita pero encubierta por la perspectiva de la narrativa, la evoluci n del maltrato hasta el perd n Menci n aparte merece la acusaci n nada encubierta de connivencia y voyeurismo de la Iglesia Cat lica, dejando claro que la connivencia con los casos de abuso infantil no han sido algo anecd tico Ser cosa del perd n.Impresionante la utilizaci n de las perspectivas del narrador, que cambia de persona y posici n, e incluso desapa [...]

  10. For a review in Dutch, see message 111 of the Summer Challenge 2014 of the Netherlands Flanders group.

  11. Disturbing and extremely claustrophobic this isn t a comfortable read but it s brilliantly written with a shifting narrative structure that feels completely uncontrived.

  12. 4.5 stars A coming of age story about a young man with six siblings, growing up on a small farm in country Ireland His widower father is quite a brutal, harsh, hard working man who loses his temper frequently The children live in fear of the sudden eruption of their father s temper The writing style is plain, concise and well constructed This is my fourth McGahern novel and whilst my favourite is Amongst Women, this, his second novel, is quite a powerful, realistic novel that reads like a memoir [...]

  13. I picked this up at a used bookstore during one of my travels I was excited to read something Irish, but was disappointed when I found myself sitting in a pile of pages about a boy feeling bad about himself for masturbating, fucking his priest s mattress, daydreaming about raping a girl at church, and studying for an exam he talks about studying for 70% of the book and we get to see him take the exams and the after effects for a remaining 25% and the final 5% he says fuck it, it was all for naug [...]

  14. This book is crazy.This book is crazy Imagine being a guy In Ireland A time in the past On a farm Without a mom You go to school, and need to go well to get to college, and be the first one ever to do that And its hard You spend all your time trying to figure out your life Its basically a coming to age story back in Ireland In the past view spoiler The ending messed me up a little hide spoiler

  15. My interpretation of the book is that the title refers to Catholic guilt Interesting father and son relationship and fascinating to see how the boy develops as he grows up The bit where he agonizes over going to the dance is really beautiful and painful.

  16. It KILLS me not to be able to give this 5 stars I thought until about halfway through that I d be giving it 5 But then it started to get sloppy The writing, I mean I felt an editor should have intervened Weren t these the glory days of editing still, when editors were making writers the men and women they were Well It s a good thing McGahern was so talented on his own One of the interesting things about this book, as others have said, is the way he shifts POV from 3rd to 1st to 2nd, while always [...]

  17. I finished the acclaimed Irish novel, The Dark, by John McGahern, while on a vacation to Waikiki, Hawaii And, yes, tis dark The book begins with an enraged father forcing his young son to strip, then bend over a chair to await the sting of the belt, while his younger siblings watch in terror It goes on a few chapters later to show the boy and father in bed together Family members sharing a bed was not uncommon in the early part of the last century nor is it today in economically challenged count [...]

  18. Yet the surface of it was that I had cycled past them hundreds of evenings without paying the slightest attention I knew them only now when they were lost, I d loved them without knowing, and only learned of the love in the leaving My third McGahern book, moving back in time with the writing, this being one of his earlier works Insights like the one above slip easily into his writing, making you pause and think not only how in life you find this to be true but also in the reading of a bookough b [...]

  19. John McGahern, The Dark Panther, 1965 John McGahern would seem to be another of those authors whose talent is lionized in his native land, but who never quite had Americans get the hang of his work q.v Margaret Laurence The Dark, McGahern s second novel, is a fascinating portrait of adolescence that deserves far, far wider appreciation than it seems to have ever received.McGahern s homeland of Ireland may have something to do with that The Dark was banned not long after its release for its rathe [...]

  20. When I first finished this book I was incredibly unsatisfied ok, so the boy grows up and dithers about his life a while and ultimately makes the easiest of the available choices and the end So what It was only after some reflection that I realized that so what that dithering is exactly the point After a lifetime of abuse physical, emotional, sexual what you are left with is a smart but terrified adult, someone too self conscious to go to a dance or have faith in his well deserved chance at unive [...]

  21. The Dark is one of the most emotionally complex and deeply affecting novels I ve ever read In a very short but economical space McGahern masterfully handles the themes of religion, sexuality, education, and most importantly, the relationship between a father and son None of these themes is treated with anything but the greatest care and sophistication, none of them handled simply or in a one sided manner, all of them rung through with nuance and extreme detail As the protagonist, the young Mahon [...]

  22. The Dark certainly lives up to its title An unnamed boy is the only son of the widower Mahoney who ekes out a subsistance living on a small farm of land in the County Leitrim of 1950s Ireland One can only speculate that the father s rage and hair trigger temper spring from frustration and misdirected grief over the loss of his wife But this is the son s story, though hardly your typical bildungsroman McGahern s protagonist is tortured by his sexuality and the uniquely Irish Catholic guilt it eng [...]

  23. This is a coming of age story, starting out with a monster of a widowed father disciplining his son a chilling first chapter , and ending with some reconciliation Getting from the beginning to the end is fairly short in number of pages but long in torturous developments centered around the father, the protagonist s sexual arousal directed mostly inward , confession and contrition, followed by sin, and competition for a scholarship to Galway University It is wonderfully written and very searing [...]

  24. This book was aptly titled It was dark indeed, at times oppressively so I had a hard time sticking with it and probably would have abandoned it entirely except for the fact that it was set in Ireland one of my favorite places to go in a book In this case most of the action took place in a rural Irish village sometime in the middle of the 20th century I think and centered around the plight of a young boy and the decisions he was trying to make about his future It was especially complicated for hi [...]

  25. rating A One of my Best Books of the Year for 2014 A boy struggles through life, as most do but through an angry, abusive father and his own wayward journey along the precipitous ledge of adolescent Taking care of his sister, deciding on being a priest or not, many turns and many consequences A very sad little novel where father and son grow together At one point the son exclaims that he, the father, is older and unable to do the work he used to, which shocks the poor son Through the stress of g [...]

  26. The least of McGahern s novels, and the shortest McGahern felt embarrassed by it written too quickly , and was amused rather than outraged when the Irish Censor Board banned it Less amusing was the Church s response, which promptly forced McGahern out of his job When McGahern protested officials were unsympathetic The book alone might have been forgiven, but after marrying a woman in a registry office worse, a foreign womanThe novel is interesting on a purely technical level It s largely dialogu [...]

  27. Aptly named, this novel was an intense look at the relationship between a father and son, and all the hatred and love that can coexist in our familial relationships I find it almost unbearably poignant and sad in parts, but a beautiful book Stylistically, it was interesting as well The book shifted between first person, second person and third person perspective, and that sounds like it would be a nightmare to wade through, but in fact, McGahern managed to pull it off and use the shifts most eff [...]

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