Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Trinity by Leon Uris
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
by Leon Uris
Tis a grand tale, it is, this story of the downtrodden of Ireland and the first risings of the Irish Republican Army. But mostly, it is the story of Conor Larkin. In a post of my "Life's a Picture" blog, I described him thusly: "Conor Larkin is one of the most romantic male characters I've ever read. I think I fell in love with him when I read this in my early 20's." I love this passage where he declares his love to Shelley: "Did I ever tell you how glad I am to have made your acquaintance, lady? I've walked through the crowds of crowds all my life. I've seen the faces of the women in the church and heard the listless priests intone. I've seen the men come down from the fields and be felled to their knees at the angelus. I've seen the hard cities. And all the time I looked past sterile eyes into sterile hearts. Then one time I looked and it ws different than all the other times and I told myself I'd have to be the worst kind of fool to recognize something had happened and not do something about it. "
Tears moistened in her eye. "Of all the luck," she whispered, "finding myself a bard. You people have a way with words."
"Aye, we're a canny and clever lot, for words is all we've had. But they're only your own thoughts coming back to you. You make me say things I no longer care to hide and I have no fear of hearing my own voice saying them." (sigh)
Seamus O'Neill, Conor's lifelong friend, narrates most of the book, using just the right touch of Irish whimsy; "Ah, it was a grand wake, a grand wake, indeed. Had he not been dead, Kilty would have been the proudest man alive and surely he was making an impression on St. Peter and all the angels for having so many darling friends."
Conor symbolizes the entire Irish struggle through his own struggles with wanting peace and love in his life, but unable to reconcile those desires with the nationalist conflict inside himself: "Even as it had stripped us of our manhood, destroyed our dreams and dispersed our seed, fear of the famine lingered on like a mighty black cloud into a second generation. I saw the Irish people broken, shorn of the will to protest, obedient, subjected, semi-comics. I wanted to grab them by the thropple and shake them and scream for them to be men but they were dogs. They played dogs' games, yapping false courage, courage they did not possess. Dogs content to scrounge their fields for scraps and send their children off to the city as beggars. Don't educate, don't strive, don't anger. Live in foggy visions. I became so broken with frustration I did what I swore would never happen. I was driven out of Ireland. Ah, not by the British but the apathy of our own people."
Since the book was written shortly after the increase in hostilities in Northern Ireland in 1969, this is a fitting epilogue: "When all this was done, a republic eventually came to pass, but the sorrows and the troubles have never left that tragic, lovely land. For you see, in Ireland there is no future, only the past happening over and over."
Posted by Framed at 7:42 PM
Sounds interesting. I really like Leon Uris. I think this would be fun to read while trying to keep an Irish accent in your head all the time.
6/06/2007 8:43 AM
Love your review with the Irish accent. I've often found when reading a book that I think in that accent for awhile. I need to read a Leon Uris book someday. You've recommended him to me before.
6/06/2007 2:41 PM
BTW, did you count this for the chunkster challenge? It is a pretty hefty book, isn't it?
6/06/2007 2:41 PM
I read much of the dialog with an Irish accent, at least I think it was. Uris wrote some great books besides Triity: Exodus and Battle Cry are two that come to mind.I didn't count this as a chunkster because I finished that challenge quite a while ago. But it was over 700 pages.
6/06/2007 8:21 PM
This is another one of those that every once in a while I've 'ALMOST' bought. Your review makes me want to get it onto the shopping list.
6/06/2007 8:52 PM
Literary Feline said...
I haven't yet read a book by Leon Uris, but this one does sound like it would be good. I sighed too after that first excerpt you quoted.
6/08/2007 9:59 PM
Carrie K. said...
This is one of my favorite books of all time - and Conor Lark was my first "book crush" when I read this in high school. I re-read it last year, and will probably revisit it again. There is a sequel called Redemption, but it is not nearly as good.
6/09/2007 12:30 PM
OK, I want this book! I love things Irish and this sounds terrific. Thanks for the review.
6/09/2007 12:51 PM
That last quote is so true and fitting, I agree. Thanks for an excellent review. Yet another one goes on the wish list.