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The Black Snow

por Paul Lynch

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945287,268 (3.9)11
"In Donegal in the spring of 1945, a farmhand runs into a burning barn and does not come out alive. The farm's owner, Barnabas Kane, can only look on as his friend dies and all 43 of his cattle are destroyed in the blaze. Following the disaster, the bull-headed and proudly self-sufficient Barnabas is forced to reach out to the community for assistance. But resentment simmers over the farmhand's death, and Barnabas and his family begin to believe their efforts at recovery are being sabotaged"--Amazon.com.… (mais)
Adicionado recentemente porJoeB1934, JFBCore, JFB87, arubabookwoman, mstudios
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I’m always on the lookout for good Irish fiction writers. Paul Lynch is good. I finished “The Black Snow” about 2 weeks ago and am still thinking about it.

I’ve added his other books to my “want to read” shelf and will get to them – after a little break.

( )
  KathleenBuckley | Jul 25, 2022 |
The black snow by Paul Lynch
Starts out with a fire and a man rushes in to save the animals. One man makes it out, the other does not. The animals all die.
Ezra, the wife is upset that her husband cancelled the insurance on the barn. There is nothing left and now they will have to sell some of the fields.
Barnabas has invested money into a lucrative business and he won't see any proceeds from it... The dead man's wife blames Barnabas also as her husband wouldn't have gone into the burning fire.
Their son wants to know why father won't eat the meat others have given them. Something isn't quite right here and she's determined to find out the truth. The fire didn't start by itself either.
She wants to sell everything and go back to the US, he has another idea...
I received this book from National Library Service for my BARD (Braille Audio Reading Device). ( )
  jbarr5 | Jan 15, 2016 |
Ce livre se déroule dans les années 50, dans le Donegal, région de naissance de l’auteur. Les personnages principaux sont une famille : le père Barnabas, revenu des États-Unis, après avoir participé à la construction des gratte-ciels du pays, avec dans ses bagages une femme, Eskra, américaine avec des origines irlandaises, et Billy leur fils, qui est adolescent dans le roman. Barnabas a racheté une ferme et des terrains pour devenir paysan. Il a à son service le vieux Matthew Peoples.

Le roman commence avec une scène très violente : l’incendie de l’étable de la ferme, avec toutes les vaches à l’intérieur. En essayant de sauver le bétail, Matthew Peoples va mourir, brûlé, et Barnabas, sauvé in extremis par un voisin, va être très fortement intoxiqué par la fumée. Les voisins compatissent avec la perte des vaches, même si l’assurance va payer, mais lui en veulent aussi de la mort du vieil homme. Surtout que c’est lui qui l’a poussé à l’intérieur de l’étable. Barnabas lui envisage rapidement que l’incendie ait été volontaire car il s’est produit par temps sec, en sortie d’hiver.

Au cours du roman, on va découvrir les petites rivalités entre voisin, le couple va se déliter car Barnabas change, en soupçonnant tout le monde, tandis que Eskra aimerait qu’ils reprennent le cours normal de leurs vies. On va aussi suivre les pensées de Billy par de courts intermèdes dans le texte. On « découvre » aussi le côté très croyant de cette partie de l’Irlande. En effet, quand Barnabas décide, sur les conseils de son voisin, de prendre des pierres de maisons abandonnées pour reconstruire son étable, les autres s’offusquent car ce sont les « tombeaux » des morts de la famine.

Paul Lynch va aborder ces thématiques de manière très singulière, car tout va passer par le ciel et la terre. Si on regarde bien, il ne se passe pas grand chose dans cette histoire (sauf à la fin bien évidemment, qui rappelle un peu celle du premier livre), les sentiments des uns et des autres vont peu évoluer mais la manière dont Paul Lynch va les décrire oui. Tout va évoluer grâce aux saisons, au climat, à la lumière. Là où j’ai trouvé, dans le premier livre, les descriptions climatiques de Paul Lynch, certes, très belles mais un peu lourdes, ici elles sont juste magnifiques. J’ai retrouvé l’Irlande que j’ai visité, il y a déjà 17 ans. Une lumière changeante, avec des passages très sombres, des passages lumineux, une nature rude, parfois accueillante, parfois hostile. Le bandeau de couverture est magnifique car il rend bien cela. Dans le livre, on voit les nuages passés ! On est tout simplement en Irlande. C’est pour cela que ce livre restera très longtemps dans mon cœur !

C’est un livre difficile à lire, plus difficile en tout cas que le premier car il demande beaucoup de concentration pour pouvoir intégrer justement cette langue « minérale » (j’ai pris ce terme dans le supplément de Livre Hebdo consacré à la rentrée car je le trouve très bien choisi). On ne peut pas lire ce livre comme un page-turner, où si on a un moment d’inattention, on peut se rattraper par la suite. J’ai voulu le faire à plusieurs reprises mais sur ces moments-là, j’avais que le sentiment que le livre traînait en longueur et était trop longueur, alors qu’en reprenant le même passage par la suite, je le trouvais tout simplement magnifique.

Comme vous l’aurez compris, ce roman est fait pour les amoureux de l’Irlande. D’ailleurs la quatrième de couverture cite une phrase de Robert McLiam Wilson « un roman sur une Irlande que je reconnais, et que devraient envier tous les écrivains ». ( )
  CecileB | Sep 20, 2015 |
Pastoral pieces of literature praise the simplicity, charm and serenity of rural life. Usually they contrast this with the misery, bustle and corruption characteristic in urban settings. Paul Lynch turns this genre on its head in The Black Snow. As the title implies, this is not your father’s pastoral setting. In 1945, Barnabus has returned with his American family to his native Western Ireland seeking his vision of bucolic safety and peace, only to find isolation, fear and resentment. His descent into darkness is unrelenting, accompanied by gloomy weather and a community that no longer recognizes him as one of their own.

Barnabus and his wife, Escra, seemed to have left a successful and happy urban setting in New York City, where he worked highly skilled and dangerous construction jobs on skyscrapers. His teenage son, Billy, is the first to experience problems acclimating to the new pastoral setting by recording unsettling experiences in a notebook that will become important for the storyline. A fire of suspicious origin precipitates Barnabus’ downfall. His helper dies trying to rescue livestock from the byre fire and some members of the community blame him for that death. This calamity is further compounded because Barnabus had discontinued insurance on the property. With few resources, he seeks help from the community to rebuild. He not only fails in that, but also is accused of desecrating of a local monument to the famine by removing stones from a deserted farmhouse.

Lynch skillfully uses multiple images to foreshadow pending doom. His portrayal of Barnabus as stubborn, shortsighted and impatient with his neighbors and family is paramount because it carries a mounting treat of violence and retaliation. Other images are equally powerful: wasps and flies torment Eskra and her apiary; much like the flies, roaming war planes fly over the land seeking the enemy; excerpts from Billy’s notebook carry the specter of a playmate’s insanity and violence; and the family dog, Cyclops, is predatory on animals from neighboring farms while also digging up cows buried after perishing in the fire.

Lynch’s prose is a joy because of its elegance and rich poetic imagery. He manages to build tension to a jaw-dropping climax that, in retrospect, seems inevitable. Lynch’s failure to use standard punctuation for dialogue adds little to the narrative and detracts from what is otherwise an enjoyable and challenging read. ( )
  ozzer | Jun 4, 2015 |
Mostrando 4 de 4
Lynch has an impressive gift for storytelling. As the separate strings of the novel are tightened and pulled together into an assured ending, this becomes a version of Donegal that has not been written before. The Irish vernacular is here, in all its intonation, but it almost sounds like a distant, musical echo of itself, as though the language in which the story is being told has travelled across the plains of America, through many other time zones, before taking root again in the native soil.
adicionada por ozzer | editarThe Guardian, Hugo Hamilton (Mar 29, 2014)
 
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"In Donegal in the spring of 1945, a farmhand runs into a burning barn and does not come out alive. The farm's owner, Barnabas Kane, can only look on as his friend dies and all 43 of his cattle are destroyed in the blaze. Following the disaster, the bull-headed and proudly self-sufficient Barnabas is forced to reach out to the community for assistance. But resentment simmers over the farmhand's death, and Barnabas and his family begin to believe their efforts at recovery are being sabotaged"--Amazon.com.

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