Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The secret scripture

Last night, I went down to RJ Julia Books to hear Sebastian Barry read from his new novel The Sacred Scripture, and was mesmerized by Barry's talent, as was the entire audience. Read a sample of The Sacred Scripture here.

I fell in love with Barry's writing when Lucy brought me a copy of his The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty, many years ago. He is a gifted writer who was granted the Irish gifts of language and story.

Barry is in this country because his play, The Pride of Parnell Street is being staged during the International Festival of Arts and Ideas in New Haven this week, by the Irish theater company Fishamble. The play sold out its run, and a new show was just added for Saturday evening.

Barry read his story, which is written in the voice of a 100 year old woman who is being moved from the institution she has lived in for decades, after being committed for a problem with "morals." He explained that it took him months to hear his character's voice, but if you're quiet and contemplative enough, these voices will rise up and tell their stories.

The reading was one of many hosted by Roxanne Coady at her amazing independent bookstore, RJ Julia, in Madison.

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