Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Cal - Bernard Mac Laverty

Pick a time in Ireland when it's burning. The Catholics and the Protestants are fighting one another and killing each other. Put a love story in the crucible - and it simmers with drama and conflict.

Cal is a Catholic. He lives with his father who works in an abattoir. Cal was working there too but couldn't stand the place. So he is out on dole, bumming cigarettes from his father. Their house is under threat from the Protestant gang. Cal's pals from school, Crilly and gang, are up in arms against the Protestants and their means are not pretty. They draft Cal as a driver on their missions - Cal is a reluctant team member. Arson, murder, bombings. And Cal falls in love with the widow of a man he has helped to kill, Marcella, who works in a library and lives with her in laws with her little daughter.

Cal's house is finally burned down. Cal's father goes insane. Cal tries to go away from the violence and into love - he finds a cottage in Marcella's property. He finds love and peace briefly. But before he can tell Marcella about his role, his intent, he is drawn by Crilly and gang again. This time however they are caught and Cal's dreams come crashing around him.

Intense - and driven by this sense of hopelessness that you know will never let him live happily. But he finds the peace if for a moment and hopefully Marcella will understand. Cal was made into an award winning movie with Helen Mirren and John Lynch. Thanks Vinod bhai for giving me the book and urging me to read it. From one hopeless romantic to another.

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