The Walk Home

The Walk Home by Rachel Seiffert: review

It's supposed to be set against the background of the Troubles in Ireland, but it's twice removed from them -- once by geography it takes place in a Protestant area of Glasgow and once by time. It's not clear why or in what way the characters are still so strongly influenced by the Troubles, While there is an awful lot of fuss about one of the central characters joining an Orange Order marching band, the reasons why there should be such a fuss remain obscure.

The flitting between Stevie's childhood and his experiences as a young man working with a group of Polish construction workers seems equally purposeless. The fact that they are Polish is perhaps meant, in some vague way, to be significant, but we're never sure in what way. There are some good passages -- the events leading up to the departure of Lindsey Stevies' mother , and Stevies' boyhood encounters in the abandoned high rises, are examples.

The Walk Home by Rachel Seiffert, review - Telegraph

But as a whole, the book lacks coherence, conviction, and above all passion. It is as if Ms.

WHO: Breathe Life – The Walk Home

Seiffert herself was uncertain why she was writing the novel. It is not in the same league as her first published effort, "The Dark Room. Beautiful prose yet the story dragged on - waited for the climax that never came. Excellent story about people who exhibit a wide range of very human characteristics. When issues related to the working class communities of Glasgow are tackled - in my experience more often in cinema than literature in Red Road, in the films of Ken Loach and Peter Mullan - it's to depict sordid situations of drugs, alcohol, poverty, abuse, deprivation and street violence Mullan's brilliant 'Neds' being the hardest-hitting of all.

Rachel Seiffert's The Walk Home deals with similar ground-level issues, but from a perspective of a community that rarely has a voice in UK literature - the working class loyalist Protestant and Orange communities living in the schemes of greater Glasgow in places like Drumchapel. Rachel Seiffert made her mark with The Dark Room filmed as Lore and The Way Home similarly deals with social upheaval, family troubles and absent parents, but the subject seems closer to home this time and the situation rather more complex.

The focus is divided between Graham and Stevie the connection between them soon becomes clear , Graham meeting Lindsay, a young 17 year old girl, while playing with his Drumchapel Orange Lodge band in Co. Tyrone in Northern Ireland. When the girl turns up pregnant in Glasgow, the young couple try to make a go of starting a family and keeping it together, but old traditions, the past and family troubles prove hard to put behind them.

Surprisingly, or perhaps not, Seiffert doesn't wallow in the misery and there's precious little conventional violence in The Way Home. The violence is of different kind, the kind inflicted on families and individuals who strive to better their lives and escape from the trappings of the past and their community.

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A lot is left unsaid, but suggestions and implications are left open, in particular with relation to Lindsey's family in Northern Ireland. The story doesn't go there, but you can tell from the young girl's responses to her background and her speed at leaving home, that there's a lot there you don't want to get into. The Walk Home is, I found, an incredibly sad book. The ending is pretty much a killer, but there's a deep existential sadness related to these family issues that suffuses the whole book.

It's not a pleasant or a light read, it doesn't find any easy answers or resolutions for its characters, and the outlook is quite bleak, but it's an involving and authentic look at the lives of a community whose voice and whose problems are often misunderstood, if they are considered at all. See all 31 reviews. Most recent customer reviews.

Vine Customer Review of Free Product. Published 5 months ago. Published 8 months ago. Published 1 year ago. Islands and Workers with Complicated Lives. Reads well and is a very good read. I highly recommend it.

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What other items do customers buy after viewing this item? There's a problem loading this menu right now. Get fast, free shipping with Amazon Prime. Jun 20, Ottawan rated it liked it. Well written but not an absorbing story.. The background involving the ongoing clashes between the Protestants and the Catholics in Northern Ireland and Scotland attracted me and the Glasgow setting.

Apr 21, Krystal Bernier rated it liked it Shelves: The book centres around Stevie a young boy who left his family and their struggles behind like others in his family have done before. Stevie's present situation and his childhood are told parallel throughout the book. The religious strife of Ireland and the strong politica follow me at krystalreviews. The religious strife of Ireland and the strong political views of the Scottish Masonic lodges bring conflict to Stevie's family.

The frustration drive's Stevie and other's within the family to turn and run, leaving behind Drumchapel the neighbourhood in Glasgow where Stevie grows up and the emotional turmoil. Although the story is ripe with conflict and the pain of regret, Seiffert also spins a tale of love and hope. Seiffert expertly emerses us in the spirit of Scotland and Drumchapel through the use of Scottish slang throughout the novel.

The author deftly transitions back and forth between Stevie's present life, told from the point of view of Jozef Stevie's employer , and Stevie's childhood told from many character's points of view. So, the book flows well as you experience Drumchapel from the Stevie's eyes and each of his family members'.

Stevie's family are a complex group of people who have suffered their fair share of strife and conflict. Seiffert develops the characters layer upon layer as you read. Just when you think you understand Stevie, a new point of view comes into play changing everything. This makes for an interesting story, but also means that to enjoy the story a mother will need to give it all her attention.

The Walk Home

If the reader has children running amuck it will be difficult for her to connect with the story and characters. Despite the language barriers and the need to give rapt attention to reading this book, I thoroughly enjoyed and connected with the story and characters. I even shed a few tears at the end as Seiffert was able to instil within me an incredible feeling of hope. Seiffert is an exceptional writer and The Walk Home will not disappoint. Feb 21, Sandie rated it liked it Shelves: Graham and Lindsey meet in Northern Ireland.

Lindsey lives there, sixteen and discontent with her life living with her father who ignores her. Graham is there with an Orange March band where he plays the drum. It is a Protestant custom meant to show the Protestant strength in Ireland to the Catholics, although Graham is not political, he just likes playing the drum and the uniforms. Six weeks later, when Graham has returned to Glasgow, Lindsey shows up on his mom's doorstep, pregnant.

Episode 1: The Walk Home

The two ge Graham and Lindsey meet in Northern Ireland. The two get married and in due course, Stevie is born. Lindsey is fiercely independent and determined to get her little family ahead. This is the world of working poor, where everyone lives in government housing and the jobs are cleaning houses, driving taxis and construction.

Lindsey wants her family to do better and for Stevie to have a better life. But things go awry when Graham goes back to the life in the band. Lindsey's discontent with her father was rooted in his activities with the Catholic IRA and the constant tension and fighting that politics meant there. Although Graham doesn't see his actions as political, she can't stand to be reminded of that time. The constant fighting breaks up the family and sets Stevie astray.

He runs away and is lost to the family. The story is told in two parts. The first part is the story of Lindsey and Graham, starting when they meet and moving forward. The second part is Stevie's story when he returns to Glasgow after several years on his own. As the two stories move towards each other in time, the reader is drawn into contemplation about whether the family can also move back together and be reconciled. Rachel Seiffer is considered one of the best current novelists. This book is recommended for those interested in Irish history and those interested in how families can support each other and how easily they can be torn apart.

Jul 26, Victoria rated it did not like it Shelves: This book, set in Glasglow, feels like it would perhaps make for a better audiobook experience than an armchair one.

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Kate Clanchy welcomes a brave, beautiful novel set in Glasgow that deals with family ties, betrayal and the pain of going back. Start by marking “The Walk Home” as Want to Read: Rachel Seiffert is one of Virago’s most critically acclaimed contemporary novelists. Her first book, The Dark Room, () was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and made into the feature film Lore.

The dialogue nicely captures the dialect, and the prose as well nicely captures a cadence that I think would be more fun to listen to than to read. Also, if done correctly, an audio version might make the different perspectives and the lack of transitions a bit easier for the reader to become accustomed to as the first chapters all come from different points-of-view.

These chapter This book, set in Glasglow, feels like it would perhaps make for a better audiobook experience than an armchair one. These chapters introduce various characters including Polish contractor, Jozef who hires Glasglow native, Stevie. But, I must admit, that it is not often that I have read a book with an obvious Northern Irish perspective sympathetic to the Protestant side, wishing to remain a part of Britain. I wish the author would have included more of the political context - that would have made this a much more fascinating read.

As it stands, it is difficult to foster connections with any of the characters and this only makes the book more of a chore to slog through. The ending is quite anti-climactic and there are simply too many loose ends left dangling for this to feel even remotely satisfying to finish.

The book is not poorly written, but the characters are too underdeveloped enough to compensate for this type of conclusion. Ultimately, this is a disappointment. Jan 18, Tonya rated it it was ok Shelves: I wanted this book to work. But somehow it all just wasn't coming together. Past and present and I just felt like I couldn't connect with Stevie or really care about Brenda or anyone in the book. And what is a feart?

I didn't get that one. I was glad when it was over. Maybe with an editor to really comb it over better and smooth it out it might have faired better. The Walk Home by Rachel Seiffert is a highly recommended novel set in Glasgow about conflict, loss, and the nature of what is a home. Opening in the present day Glasgow with Polish construction foreman Jozef hoping to earn enough money to allow him to go back to Gdansk, Poland, and reunite with his estranged wife, we also meet Glasgow native Stevie, an enigmatic young man, who is now working on the Polish construction crew.

The story then goes back in time and we meet Stevie's parents, Graham and The Walk Home by Rachel Seiffert is a highly recommended novel set in Glasgow about conflict, loss, and the nature of what is a home. The story then goes back in time and we meet Stevie's parents, Graham and Lindsey as well as his grandmother Graham's mother Brenda, and learn about the troubles with the family black sheep, her brother Eric.

The Walk Home follows three main narrative threads: Graham and Lindsey, his uncle Eric, and Polish Jozef.

This is a novel of exiles, but also one of family tensions and troubles over the generations. Much of the tension is associated with the historic Irish Troubles as well as a familiar strain of brutality that runs through the family. There are topics that are off limits and never discussed. While all these family members need each other, their personal pain keeps them apart and there is no chance for healing.

The prose in this well written novel is simultaneously graceful, but also sparse and controlled, almost reflecting the dysfunctional inner life of her characters. Seiffert's use of the Glasgow dialect is both authentic and a monumental struggle at times for this American reader. While I'm highly recommending The Walk Home, the time it took for me to fully comprehend the written dialect should be noted.

My Kindle edition was courtesy of Knopf Doubleday for review purposes.

A riveting domestic drama illuminates grand political themes

This is the story of Stevie, told in two interleaved parts: Stevie's family are a complex group of people who have suffered their fair share of strife and conflict. This book is recommended for those interested in Irish history and those interested in how families can support each other and how easily they can be torn apart. The rest of the story is equally fraught with tension but of the kind that occurs within families. Maybe with an editor to really comb it over better and smooth it out it might have faired better. I lived in a distinguished crescent in the University area, but it was impossible to ignore the hooliganism fomented by the misguided creation of huge housing projects on the fringes of the city. A complete edition of John James Audubon's world famous The Birds of America, bound in linen and beautifully presented in a special slipcase.

Dec 08, Stacey Clark rated it really liked it. This is not an easy book to read: That being said, I felt it displayed a solid historical and emotional tie to the events that happen without becoming entangled in describing such. The narrative switches smoothly, and the characters are well-developed with a few exceptions. T This is not an easy book to read: The wording is sparse and, at times, leaves the reader to fill in the blank spaces.

Overall, I felt it was a worthy read.

Jul 05, Rosemary rated it it was amazing Shelves: Independence, Orangemen, the endless struggles of Ireland carried into Scotland between catholic and protestant, father and son, husband and wife; leaving Stevie alone to fend for himself. The two stories come together; Stevie coming back to Glasgow to work with a group of Polish workers to finish a home, while the past story of his parents and grandfather and uncle catch up to him.

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