Long Time, No See (Hardcover)
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Staff Reviews

Set in a modern-day coastal village in rural Ireland and told mostly in dialogue— but through the eyes of a young man in between high school and college—but more accurately a young man who is waiting, who is in limbo, a young man who has experienced something hard and who can't move on yet. For now, he works odd jobs, lives with his ma and da, is building a wall, collecting lobsters from the traps, mowing lawns, talking to his sort-of girlfriend (is she? isn’t she?), remarking on what the storms have brought in ashore or uncovered. More importantly, he becomes friend and caretaker to two old men—one a fiery neighbor called the Blackbird and one his granduncle, Joejoe. What do these men do? Talk, drink, fight, remember. As he, Philip, comes closer perhaps to the cusp of a new and different life, to something that’s looming out there, to moving out of his limbo, they, the old men (reminders of what he could/will become?), move closer to the cusp of death.

The lack of a snappy plot, or what some might perceive as a lack of "hard drama," might frustrate some readers—but that sprinkling of fairy dust: the picaresque cast of characters (roustabouts, rogues, misfits, ex-opera singers, hippies, Lithuanian and Polish émigrés, eccentric artists, the German land owner, Japanese bird watcher, kids about town, etc.) coming through—the music, art, and life and the way it all fits in together—will delight others.

In that way it reminds me most of Cannery Row or Cormac McCarthy's Suttree. Halfway between maybe a picaresque novel and a bildungsroman: And maybe that’s where some of the inner tension of the novel exists, and what might make it different than many other novels I’ve read: Things happen, amazing things, every damn day and night, and they are acutely observed—the winds gust, the seasons change, the earth changes, there are fights, music, parties, wakes, work, food, etc.—but the characters aren’t really seen to develop or change in response. I don’t know if anyone really “comes of age”—even though it’s partly the story of the young man. Instead, there are episodes, many many amazing episodes, and, over all that, a meditation.

And that's what it became to me. It filled up a space in my life as I read it each evening before bed and in the morning when I woke up—a meditation: a meditation on this book, a meditation on larger life, and maybe just an act of meditating itself—cool brain waves saying: this is being, this is being, this is being—a kind of mantra—the reading and the writing, the story itself: all a meditation. And if it ends up suiting your fancy, your temperament, whatever, if you make it through, back to the end, it does leave you with something—the kind of thing that sticks to your ribs: a very salty seaside humor, and maybe some salty tears, something both time and place-bound and yet something surrounded by the eternal, something both earthy and poetic, funny and sad: all sides of an embrace of everyday life.

— From arlo klahr


The funny, moving, long-awaited masterwork from "Ireland's finest living novelist" (Roddy Doyle)

Celebrated Irish author Dermot Healy's first novel in more than ten years is a rich, beguiling, compassionate, and wonderfully funny story about community, family, love, and bonds across generations.

Set in an isolated coastal town in northwest Ireland, "Long Time, No See" centers around an unforgettable cast of innocents and wounded, broken misfits. The story is narrated by a young man known as Mister Psyche who takes up with and is then drawn into a series of bemusing and unsettling misadventures with two men some fifty years his senior his grand uncle Joejoe and Joejoe's neighbor The Blackbird wonderful, eccentric characters full of ancient jealousies and grudges and holding some very dark secrets.

Written with great lyrical power and a vivid sense of place and published to rapturous reviews in England and Ireland, "Long Time, No See" is a sad-comic tapestry of life and death that celebrates the incredibly rich lives of ordinary people.

About the Author

Dermot Healy is the author of three novels (including "A Goat s Song"), a memoir, a collection of stories, and five volumes of poetry. His prizes include the Hennessey Award for Short Stories, the Tom Gallon Award, and the Encore Award. He was the winner of the 2002 America Ireland Literary Award, which was funded by the America Ireland Fund and given in recognition of his contribution to Irish letters."

Praise For…

Praise for Long Time, No See

“A grand read, funny and provocative…tenderness and affection win out despite gunfire, despite ancient jealousies and grudges.” —Annie Proulx, The Guardian

 “Funny, sad, wild, tender, profound, brilliant…Ireland’s finest living novelist.” —Roddy Doyle

 “A family saga bristling with curiously appealing oddballs and misfits.” Entertainment Weekly

 “Healy’s first novel in ten years is a triumphant return…A beautiful account of one person’s acceptance of his own quiet heroism.” Library Journal

 “Highly stylized, chock-full of colorful dialogue, and steeped in Irish idioms, this is a leisurely read about ordinary folk acting out the dramas that make a life.” Publishers Weekly

 “Compassionate and elegiac…a celebration of the whole gift of existence…everyday chores and family obligations are elevated to the level of epiphany.” The Times Literary Supplement

 “Unforgettable…Nothing happens, but everything happens. Times passes. People die. It all seems so true to actual life, so tangible and authentic…so real you feel you could step into the book and live there.” The Sunday Independent

 “Terrific and exhilarating…Healy’s characters have mouths full of poetry… the poetry of the everyday, laconic, idiosyncratic, and wonderfully droll…Every page is a pleasure to read and the entire book is, as one of Healy’s characters might put it, an astonishment.” The Sunday Times

 “A richly compelling comic-sad tapestry of love and death in which, like the pauses in a Pinter play, truth lurks in what’s left unsaid, catching us off guard.” The Independent

Product Details
ISBN: 9780670023608
ISBN-10: 0670023604
Publisher: Viking Books
Publication Date: July 5th, 2012
Pages: 438
Language: English