Long Time, No See
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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.
from the past as I placed the soup and the pasta before him and he ate like the man doing the crossword. You are a good friend Mister Psyche, he said. I rang Ma who was on night duty at the hospital. Do you have anything for the itch? There are certain creams. Can you get me the best? And who is it for? Joejoe. I thought so. Is he bad? The worst. It sounds like psoriasis. You know something – the very dogs he loves could be doing him a disfavour. Can you get me something? I
memory sound as she lowered her head. Tommy read the wording on the tape: The Great Theatre, Poznan, he announced, and tapped the play button; and as the chords struck and the voice began St Patrick and the General stepped in and stood by the bedroom door to listen to a man they did not know sing a song that nobody knew the meaning of, then the widows and Mick, Frosty, the cousins and aunts, and Da and Ma all stood with smiles or furrowed brow and questioning looks, that turned to quiet
man. Chat ya – – See ya, Anna – – OK Philip – I put the mobile in my pocket and took out again the envelope Angela had given me. I stepped outside into the smokers’ glasshouse, and read her writings of condolence. Each letter L swooped overhead in a loop, each E was like a bird cupping its head under her wings, and the T’s were like the chimneys of a gas station, cut across by short strokes of lightning. Sorry for all your trouble, she’d written. We will see you down the line and . . .
waited. In a few minutes the music started again. I went out onto the road and stood in the dark wondering what to do. It was not what I expected. A riﬂe by his side. I turned for home and soon the shadows were walking across the ﬁelds alongside me. The shadows seemed even darker now. I let myself into the house and found the father sitting at the bottom of the stairs. Well, he said. Oh, he’s there. Is he all right? Yes. Is he up? Aye, he’s sitting there playing the accordion.
sycamore, driven helpless by wind, looked at me like a woman’s head. The empty rose bush shufﬂed. I leaned down to look at the two purple heads of hydrangea that had survived the winds. Then the mist ﬂattened and began to lift with just the slightest urge of a breeze. What was out there? I walked down the road to the pier and touched the wall, and found my way down to the boat. I sat there for an hour at the wheel watching the white world sifting past. Then I made my way back up the road, and