March 27, 2009

The Secret Scripture

It is funny, but it strikes me that a person without anecdotes that they nurse while they live, and that survive them, are more likely to be utterly lost not only to history but the family following them.  Of course this is the fate of most souls, reducing entire lives, no matter how vivid and wonderful, to those sad black names on withering family trees , wit half a date dangling after and a question mark.

My father's happiness not only redeemed him, but drove him to stories, and keeps him even now alive in me, lie a second more patient and more pleasing soul within my poor soul.

I loved this book set in Ireland and the beautiful, lyrical  prose of its author who was nominated for the Booker Prize in 2008.

Sebastian Barry writes about the beautiful Roseanne Cleary McNulty, a 100-year-old woman in a mental asylum for far more than fifty years who is secretly writing the story of her early life (the Secret Scripture of the title)  and hiding it under the floorboards in her room. 

Dr. Grene, a psychiatrist in charge of deciding what is to happen to each of the patients when the asylum closes- and so Roseanne's fate- becomes fascinated by Roseanne's resilience and lack of bitterness and soon begins to uncover  the truth of why she was sent to the asylum in the first place. 

"The Secret Scripture" (Sebastian Barry)

 The Secret Scripture

Here's another few snippets:

It is always worth itemizing happiness, there is so much of the other thing in life, you had better put down the markets for happiness while you can.
We are never old to ourselves.  That is because at close of day the ship we sail in is the soul, not the body.

Posted by Jill Fallon at March 27, 2009 9:45 AM | Permalink