This Human Season

This Human Season

A Novel

Book - 2005
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November 1979, the height of Northern Ireland's Troubles. Kathleen Moran's son Sean has just been transferred to the hypersecure H-block in Belfast's notorious Maze prison, where he soon emerges as a young but impor­tant force in the extreme protest, known as the Blanket, that political prisoners are staging there. John Dunn is also newly arrived at the prison, having taken on the job of guard--a brutal but effective way to support a house and a girlfriend, the domestic dream.    In the weeks leading up to Christmas, no one's dreams go untroubled. As rumors of a hunger strike begin to circulate, Louise Dean's pitch-perfect novel places two parents, two sons, and two enemies on a collision course that ends in a surprising and deeply resonant climax.
Publisher: Orlando, FL : Harcourt : 2005
ISBN: 9780151012534
Branch Call Number: FIC Dean
Characteristics: 374p


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Jul 04, 2011

This horrifying novel, based on historical fact, shows us the effects of the Troubles and the Maze prison in Northern Ireland in the 1970s on two families struggling just to exist. The details are very hard to read but essential to the impact of the novel. Prisoners refusing to wear jail uniforms to make clear their status as political, not criminal, detainees went "on the blanket", nude except for wraps inadequate in the unheated cells. Their secret code language, "jailiac", intense loyalty to their cause, and endgame of death before capitulation, tear at the heart and defy reason. In retrospect, now that the Troubles are over and political peace restored, we are challenged to question events in Gaza and Guantanamo and our tolerance of the intolerable. Louise Dean has done a masterful job of transporting us into this horrific world, including her use of Irish idiom and slang without translation. It is as if we are overhearing the words of foreign strangers while on their turf--and able to tease out the meanings without assistance from them. This book deserves wide readership and public discussion.

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