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Long Time, No See

by Dermot Healy

An isolated village in the north of Ireland has little in the way of company for Mister Psyche. As a teenager on the cusp of adulthood, his companions are his family, girlfriend and the musings of two elderly gentlemen. The story clearly shows the affection in which the old men are held in the community – by those they know and strangers who pass through. And, it's nice to read a book where growing up is written about in a positive way. Lovely.

Extract

Last night, said the Bird, all the people I knew died in my head. Then they woke up in their own bodies. They were themselves - not part of me. I had freed them of my control and I was grateful - I was - for the rush to the head. Mister Psyche, the thing about sitting in the third story of a hospital is that the birds are below you, or just there in front of you - and he pointed towards the window as a seagull flew by.
Then he looked at his old neighbour Joejoe. I could not give a fuck if I died, he said. Then he looked at me. That's why I'm handing over the key.

Parallels

Sudden Times by Dermot Healy
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
 

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