After the Lockout by Darren McCann

after the lockoutHeart and soul…

😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

This very fine novel is so well written and accomplished that it’s hard to believe that it is the author’s first.

Victor Lennon, hero of the failed Easter Uprising of 1916, returns to his home town in Armagh to look after his drunken father at the behest of Stanislaus, the local priest. Through the microcosm of this small town, we are shown the various tensions existing in Irish society at this period – the iron rule of the Catholic church, those who desire independence from the English, those who are fighting alongside those same English in WW1, those who, like Victor, are inspired by the Bolshevik revolution in Russia to bring about a socialist republic.

Darran McCann
Darran McCann

But although there is much about religion and politics in this book, the author manages to keep it on a very human level. We see the growing strength of Victor’s relationship with his father, the tension between his love for Maggie and his dedication to his cause. We come to understand his antipathy to the Church in general and to Stanislaus in particular. On the other hand, we are also shown Stanislaus’ genuine concern for the moral welfare of his flock, his fears of what revolution may mean for the Church and his courage in standing up for his beliefs.

The author does not openly favour one side over the other – what we see are two fundamentally good but fallible men driven by circumstances to battle for the hearts and souls of the people. The use of language is excellent, in some parts almost poetic. There are a few occasions when the author falls into an anachronism, but not often or badly enough to spoil the flow of the story. I found the book uplifting in parts and deeply moving in others. A first-rate debut novel which I hope will be followed by many more. Highly recommended.

NB This book was provided for review by Amazon Vine UK.

Amazon UK Link
Amazon US Link

27 thoughts on “After the Lockout by Darren McCann

  1. One of the best ways to show the tensions of an era is to take them to the human level and let us see how they play out. This one sounds as though it has a terrific atmosphere as well as solid characterisation. Thanks for the excellent review as ever.

  2. When I read this revue I had a strange sense of deja vu, although I knew I had not read the book. Then I realised I had read your revue on Kindle. Del Potro/Djokovic, then Murray/Janowicz have scrambled my brain!

    • I know, my reviews are like rats – wherever you are, you’re never more than 6 feet away from one! Completely shattered – what a brilliant day’s play, especially the first match. And an all Scottish final! Andy Murray v. Jock O’Vitch!!

      (Though I expect Andy will be British for the next couple of days…)

  3. I have this awaiting as part of my Amazon Vine Optionals pile – following a recc at that time by you8 – yes its part of the wobbly pile and will be got to (so like BigSister – hello BigSister!) I had a deja vu.

    But in reply to that Professor – no Professor VJ, not clueless or befuddled I’m very afraid it might be wee beasties in the thatch, forcing him to scratch. Visiting any well-prepared mother should help, there are plenty of natural remedies, sweet and foul smelling to suffocate those head beasties and dislodge their eggeries!

    PS Tennis O Fan, you are QUITE wrong about us Brits claiming Andy as a Brit – instead, we are all furiously searching out our family trees trying to find the wherewithal to wear the tartan and claim ourselves as Scottish!

    Anyway, your review and Margot’s comment does mean I need to move this nearer to the top of the wobbly pile.

    I think its time to get a stack of hankies at the ready for Sunday. There WILL be tears, of both joy and sorrow, because I hope and trust it will be an excellent, hard fought final by two superb athletes and sportsmen, so that whoever wins it will be one of those where both deserved to win. Anyway, as I have now reinvented myself as McLady McFancifull I hope my allegiance is clear. I wear the McFancifull haggis proudly

    • Ach, you’ll be back to being English if Djokovic wins! Whatever, I hope it’s a better match than the ladies is turning out to be so far. (end of first set at the moment).

      I hope you realise it’s nearly two years since you put this book on the TBR pile? You’re as bad as me. I weeded out my wishlist the other night and couldn’t for the life of me remember why some of the books had ever been added in the first place – must have been recommendations that made me briefly enthusiastic. So now down to 68 to read, and another 80 on the wishlist… frightening! just as well the tennis’ll be over soon…

  4. I taught Irish Drama for many years and so am always interested in new literature that is set in an era that I know well through the works of O’Casey. Thanks for introducing me to this. I shall look out for it and add it to the list of books I am desperately trying to get round to reading.

    • It’s a while since I read this one, but I still remember parts of it quite vividly. Always a sign of a good book for me – I completely forget most books within a couple of weeks of reading them. It’s quite a short, quick read – I hope you enjoy it. 🙂

  5. You sold another book, and across the pond no less. Can’t wait to read this one when I get the chance.

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