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The fear and violence of Ulster Cal is a haunting love story that unfolds in a land where tenderness and innocence can only flicker briefly in the dar. I read this uite a number of years ago but the plot has always stayed with me the mark of a good book generally The truth is I thought Neil Gaiman was the author and decided I had to look it up Well I was married to a Cal and that s why I picked up the book in the first place Tragic story during the Troubles in Northern Ireland Cal lives in a Protestant part of Northern Ireland and becomes enmeshed with the Catholic forces of the 70s and 80s It involves his meeting of someone who doesn t realize his past and falling in love with them Don t want to give away the plot and there are many better reviews on Goodreads of this bookLet s just say if you have any interest in Northern Ireland this would be a good place to start

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Cal by Bernard MacLaverty

Set in the Northern Ireland of the 1980’s Cal tells the story of a young Catholic man living in a Protestant area For Cal some choices are devastatin. It s a depressing story about life in Northern Ireland in the 80 s If a Catholic is living in a mainly Protestant area he s asking for trouble Cal tries to hold his own in the environment of the TroublesHad it been a film it would have been in black and white

Bernard MacLaverty ☆ 7 Read

Gly simple he can work in an abattoir that nauseates him or join the dole ueue; he can brood on his past or plan a future with MarcellaSpringing out of. The mid 70 s to early 80 s was a time fraught with danger in Northern Ireland As an expat living and working in England I am well versed to understand the mindset of the various embattled groups that continued to carry on a war of attrition not only against the so called enemy police and army but eually against each other and if you happened to be of the wrong religion residing in the perceived wrong locality intimidation was an everyday occurrence Cal McCluskey and his dad are a catholic family living in a predominately protestant localityhe could not bear to look up and see the flutter of Union Jacks and now the red and white cross of the Ulster flag with it red hand Cal was often the target of insults taunting and intimidation but he tried to ignore picking up his Giro on a regular basis and hanging around street corners ripe pickings for paramilitary scouts So he helped with the cause and when needed would act as a driver for his fellow republicans Crilly and Skeffington With so much free time and little hope of a job in this divided land he was often to be seen perusing books and cassettes in the local library where one day he notices a new woman behind the counter What follows is a beautifully written story of a love affair that is doomed to failure from the start Cal holds a secret that if revealed to Marcella would end their relationship as he is torn between loyalties to his friends and honesty to his lover The language and descriptive prose of the author reminded me of the many years I lived in a country riddled with hypocrisy and bigotrythe weight and darkness of Protestant Ulster with its neat stifled Sabbath towns people were dying everyday men and women were being crippled and turned into vegetables in the name of Ireland An Ireland which never was and never would beI like the look of Donegal where nothing grows Beaches bogs and mountainsThe parade led by Evangelists screaming about sin and death and damnation The ending when it happens is unexpected and sudden in its execution and brutality but I felt that it suited so well the time and events in such a deeply divided community Highly Recommended


10 thoughts on “Cal by Bernard MacLaverty

  1. says:

    It's a depressing story about life in Northern Ireland in the '80's If a Catholic is living in a mainly Protestant area he's asking for trouble Cal tries to hold his own in the environment of the TroublesHad it been a film

  2. says:

    A bleak portrait of a young Catholic man Cal living with his father in a Protestant Housing Development in Northern Ireland

  3. says:

    Bernard Mac Laverty’s Cal is one of the best anti war novels I have read It is about a civil war the Catholics fighting for freedom from British rule Nationalists vs the Protestant Loyalists in northern Ireland

  4. says:

    This is a very moving sensual love story between a young Catholic man and a widow about 9 years older than the man It is also about the deeds and regrets of the same young Catholic man in Northern Ireland during The Troubles Extremely well told

  5. says:

    Cal the central character of this book is Catholic Living with his father in Ulster Northern Ireland in a Protestant housing estate during the 1980s their very existence is threatened They are not welcome They are sent menacing letters “Move get out this is your last warning” What is drawn is life in that era so glibly called by

  6. says:

    The mid 70's to early 80's was a time fraught with danger in Northern Ireland As an expat living and working in England I am

  7. says:

    I read this uite a number of years ago but the plot has always stayed with me the mark of a good book generally The truth is I thought Neil Gaiman was the author and decided I had to look it up Well I was married to a Cal and that's why I picked up the book in the first place Tragic story during the Troubles in Northern Ireland Cal

  8. says:

    As Catholics Cal McCluskey and his father are a rarity in their community and fear attacks on their home Resistant to join his father in working at the local abattoir Cal spends his days doing odd jobs and lurkin

  9. says:

    I read Cal 1983 by Bernard MacLaverty for my book groupLast year I read and loved Milkman 2018 by Anna Burns which is a highly original take on the Troubles in Northern Ireland and one of the best books I have ever

  10. says:

    I like McLaverty's writing a lot This is the first one I read I thought I'd put it on GR but apparently not A tense superior novel set in Northern Ireland during the troubles in the 70s Try his stories recently read 'Matters of Life and Death' which has two great stories it I don't know how to put links in or italics come