From a low and quiet sea
Donal Ryan
Penguin books
How many tales of desperation and stories of inhumanity must be told and shared and read before we really start looking after our fellow humans. I heard a good interview with the author who exclaimed his motto in life is to try not to hurt people. What a lovely ideology. I would extend that to all life form, people and animals but if we start with people we are on a good path.
Unfortunately for many the path that life leads them on isn’t flat and is full of many barriers. For Farouk and his family life threw up war and danger. Not something he was born into or whilst schooling as a doctor. But something that evolved and consequently could not be avoided. The first third of the book is taken with Farouk’s story of trying to escape war and avoid killing of his family. In that effort to escape danger he was confronted by a different type of extreme danger as he paid money to human smugglers for himself, his wife and daughter to somehow find a better life. One of them made it but was it any better?
Then there’s Lampy, feeling the hurt of losing his girlfriend. Mixed into this the melancholy of not knowing who his father is. Lampy, a confused kid still in love but it’s a one way street. Lampy, whose motto in life is “be kind and you’ll have lived a good life”
Finally there’s John, from ireland’s established class. John is a political animal who works in a world unbeknownst to most of us. Well unlived  by most of us anyway. His is a domain of safe investments and government lobbying. He has friends in many Hugh, though some might come beer these indeed are low, places. Unfortunately the friendship of his wife isn’t enough and John strays. What happens when he strays is the theme of his tale.
Ryan’s style of writing is a bit laborious at times. Sentences meander, and meander, and meander, just as you think they might be coming to an end an additional and is added into the mix, and then you forget where the sentence started, how it started as your concentration isn’t quite what it should be. Whilst it may be be laborious his way with words is  excellent and any scholar of the language would be well advised to read this.

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