A Son Called Gabriel

A Son Called Gabriel Set in the hills of Northern Ireland in the s and s A Son Called Gabriel is a deeply felt and often funny coming of age novel that is ultimately unforgettable Gabriel Harkin the eldest of four

  • Title: A Son Called Gabriel
  • Author: Damian McNicholl
  • ISBN: 9781593150181
  • Page: 398
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Set in the hills of Northern Ireland in the 1960s and 70s, A Son Called Gabriel is a deeply felt and often funny coming of age novel that is ultimately unforgettable.Gabriel Harkin, the eldest of four children in a working class family, struggles through a loving yet often brutal childhood It s a turbulent time in Ulster, and in the staunchly Catholic community to which GSet in the hills of Northern Ireland in the 1960s and 70s, A Son Called Gabriel is a deeply felt and often funny coming of age novel that is ultimately unforgettable.Gabriel Harkin, the eldest of four children in a working class family, struggles through a loving yet often brutal childhood It s a turbulent time in Ulster, and in the staunchly Catholic community to which Gabriel belongs, the strict rules for belief and behavior are clear As Gabriel begins to suspect that he s not like other boys, he tries desperately to lock away his feelings, and his fears But secrets have a way of being discovered, and Gabriel learns that his might not be the only ones in the Harkin family.Evoking a sense of time and place as compelling as Angela s Ashes and At Swim, Two Boys, Damian McNicholl s A Son Called Gabriel announces the arrival of a striking new literary voice.

    One thought on “A Son Called Gabriel”

    1. This book struck a lot of chords for me, and I found myself reading it in one session because I simply couldn’t put it down. Being raised myself by a Catholic mother with the same values and standards as Gabriel’s mother–don’t shame the family, don’t show yourself up, don’t give in to bullies, always look nice, study hard, do better–I could empathize with everything in this story.Gideon is a normal little boy–until he starts to worry that he isn’t. He’s about six at the start [...]

    2. I read this for my in-person reading group and like many of the others we’ve read I hadn’t heard of it before. It is set between the 1960’s and 70’s in Northern Ireland during a time of great conflict and strife between the Catholic and Protestants. This provides an interesting backdrop to Gabriel Harkin’s own troubles and internal conflicts, when he slowly discovers that he is different to other boys.Gabriel is a sensitive and intelligent young lad who is mercilessly bullied throughou [...]

    3. I was disappointed by this book. I'd seen it compared to At Swim Two Boys, presumably because it's set in Ireland and has a gay protagonist, but really the two books have nothing at all in common. ASCG doesn't even read like a novel; it's more like one of those rather worthy over-detailed confessional affairs, in which everything that's there is there because it happened and not because it makes much narrative sense. There's very little narrative sense to be had in this book, in which one thing [...]

    4. Nothing new to be learned from this one. Every cliche under the sun woven together and not particularly well.

    5. I feel like I've read a different book than the one advertised. As in, I was lead to believe this was an enjoyable, gay, coming-of-age story. It's really not; as I saw another review say, it's more of a "these things happened, and in this order," with no real effect on the plot. And it ends awfully. If taken at face value--and the author has not given us any reason to believe it shouldn't be--this queer young man believes he's going to be happy in London with his girlfriend, and that he's "leavi [...]

    6. Every gay stereotype is served by the main character. Why are gays in books always afraid of hard work, want to be a hairdresser, are not into sports and are members of a drama clubs. Beside that, it's a nice book.

    7. Although I didn’t think this was as good as the author’s last book, it was well worth reading. Not easy though.

    8. Wow! Firstly; I was expecting the ending to reveal Gabriel's uncle Brendan's concealed (but hinted at) homosexuality, instead I was completely thrown to learn Brendan was in fact Gabriel's father! I am prone to 'coming of age' novels and this was no exception. I thoroughly enjoyed the authors writing style. I found it very intimate and personal. This enabled me to quickly get into the novel. I liked the picture he painted of Northern Ireland in the mid 60's, gruff, run down but cosy living surro [...]

    9. About a third of the way through Damian McNicholl’s debut novel, his chief protagonist seems to have his prayers answered, and I did too, for it was then that the novel finally got hold of me an kept me with it to the end. The first third unfairly dallied that it would be a run-of-the-mill depressing tale of shoeless drunken Ireland a la Angela’s Ashes but patience brought good things just like the saying predicts. Having grown up in Northern Ireland at exactly the same time as Gabriel, I fo [...]

    10. This novel about a gay Catholic boy growing up in a rural town in Northern Ireland during the "time of troubles" quickly captures the reader's attention. The first-person narrative, laced with Irish idiomatic expressions, is charming and cheeky during Gabriel's grade-school years. But, as he grows older, he often comes off sounding like a drama queen as he goes through typical adolescent rebellion. The scenes of his furtive gay experimentation with cousins and school mates are at first humorous. [...]

    11. This is a gentle story narrated by young Gabriel Harkin, the son of the title, who lives in Northern Ireland during the 1960s and 70s. A young boy in 1964 when the novel begins, his story is one of growing up during the time of the "troubles" which provide a subtle background for his personal experience of dealing with his own homosexuality. He does well enough in school, but is not a scholar, and from the beginning he does not fit in either at school or at home. The novel traces his gradual dis [...]

    12. Robert Rice A Son Called GabrielI would recommend this book to people who want to understand more of what happened during this time period. I think the author wrote this to enlighten the reader of the life’s of everyday Irish people and the hardships some endure. “Her ability to reverse herself and stand up for Father was truly astonishing” because it showed that even though she was mad at him she still wanted to protect him. I felt sorrow for the main character for all the trouble he has [...]

    13. I wasn’t sure about this book going into it. One of the best books I’ve read this year was The Absolutist by John Boyne, which is the story of a young gay man coming of age written by an Irish author; and one of my all time favorite books is At Swim, Two Boys by Jamie O’Neill, which is the story of a young gay man coming of age written by an Irish author.Overall I was completely underwhelmed until the last 15-20 pages of the book. I think McNicholl did a great job portraying working class [...]

    14. This story is about a boy named Gabriel growing up in Ireland. His hysterical mother's rants made me laugh and his father reminded me of The Wonder Years dad I always loved. Brother, sisters, aunts, grandparents, school friends and teachers are all great characters, and I love an Irish brogue, but still this book felt long to me. Family secrets involve Gabriel's uncle Brendan, a priest away on an African mission. Most of Gabriel's childhood experiences seem to revolve around sexual experimentati [...]

    15. I have to say this was impressive, because despite a fairly one-note, first person delivery, which seemed to lack the level of rhythm and description other Irish writers have, this was nevertheless fairly compelling. In parts the vocabulary and level of questioning of Gabriel didn't match his age and was difficult to believe in, but overall the tale was well told, if not exactly 'enjoyable', because of the uncomfortable ups and downs of adolescence and all-too-recognisable insights into family l [...]

    16. I kept waiting for something to happen, and was a bit disappointed that the huge secret was that Gabriel was Brendan's son. I was waiting for the scandal that forced him (Brendan)to missionary work in KenyaI found the narrator's voice unconvincing. Gabriel's 1st person's voice is just too mature for a boy, though it gets a bit better when he hits the teenage years. He sounds like an a (stiff) grown-up in his conversations with his grandmother, parents, relatives

    17. The confusion of growing up gay, the backdrop of increasingly heated relationships between Irish Catholics and Protestants, a big family secret, characters that feel like they breathe: these characteristics and more inhabit a book that is at times humorous and at times melancholy. It tells a story of the often difficult process of growing up in a way that makes you remember your own transition from "wee" to "grown" with both a smile, and a tear.

    18. I truly enjoyed this book. Though slow at first, the end was absolutely riveting and I could not put the book down. I'm not such a proponent of books narrated by younger characters but this one is an exception. It was an easy read, not the most brilliant, but still managed to articulate key experiences and situations. Perfect if you're just getting into the genre.

    19. The author did a good job bringing the Catholic/Protestant issues in Ulster at the time alive; and most of the characters were believable. Unfortunately I had difficulty with the main character. While his being bullied was something many could relate to I found him so unsympathetic that I almost didn't care what happened to him.

    20. The type of book that kept me thinking all the while I was reading it. It took me a while to understand the purpose of the story, but the writing was good bait and very engaging so I went along for the ride. My only disappointment was that the ending came along too fast and felt rushed, a little too neat and tidy like the author found something else to move on to.

    21. Here on , 2 stars means 'It was okay' and that's exactly what this novel was - just okay. I didn't hate it, but I wasn't particularly invested in it either. It left me wondering, "So what?" It's a fairly average coming-of-age story that read just like plenty of others, but the twist at the end was (to my surprise) more interesting than what I had assumed it would be.

    22. A coming-of-age story set in Northern Ireland. Although it does have a few charming moments, McNicholl is certainly no Frank McCourt. I quickly wearied of Gabriel and all his angst. Repetitive and often quite dull.I won this book in a Giveaway - thanks !!

    23. Too often today we find memoirs that turn out to be fiction. Well, this fictional account reads like a memoir and the author could have gotten away with pulling a James Frey on us.I picked this one up on a whim and it was a great impulse.

    24. This book was insight into a harsh life, painful experiences offset by a soft and patient voice in the telling. At times poetic, at times stark. A Son Called Gabriel, read so many years ago, is one I remain thankful to have discovered.

    25. Enjoyable, but not amazing. I feel like the author could have done more with the story and characters than he did.

    26. This book was amazing, It shows the struggle between religion and true feelings. I think everyone should read this book.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *