On Canaan’s Side
I knew that this is an unusually talented writer as early as page 27.
I am reading a new book that I bought on a whim, written by an author I did not know before I began turning the pages of this impulsive buy. I am now being hugely rewarded for my impulsiveness because what I am reading is the work of a future Nobel Prize Winner for Literature, probably one who shall be considered to be a King amongst his peers.
I have never come across such consistently poetic prose before, combined with so much guidance towards what the final destination of our life should be: The discovery of our humanity.
Sebastian Barry is not only an unusually gifted writer; he is also a modern philosopher worthy of the title, though I do not get the impression that he lays any claim to such a designation. A philosopher in the sense that Kazantzakis was a philosopher, meaning a philosopher of the people speaking a language that anyone who loves literature can easily comprehend and can associate with and be guided by. There is nothing complicated in his philosophy like in Nietzsche’s work, or problematically derived at or sourced from like Schopenhauer’s. It is poetry in humanity.
Nothing and no one can convince me that Sebastian Barry is not a good human being. No one can write what he writes so consistently and be a bad person. So what you have here is an extremely talented writer of poetic prose who is also a teacher, who teaches a philosophy which should be the guiding light of all human beings, leading to the very reason of our existence; Our humanity.
The plot in the story “On Canaan’s Side” is not really important, though no doubt the author will not thank me for such presumption. It is the way it is written and the message it projects that are important.
And I am only on page 126.