When she was a young woman, Roseanne McNulty was one of the most beautiful and beguiling girls in County Sligo, Ireland. Now, she is a patient at Roscommon Regional Mental Hospital, and nearing her hundredth year. As the story of Roseanne’s life unfolds, so does the life of her caregiver, Dr Grene, who has been asked to evaluate the patients to decide if they can return to society when the hospital closes down. But as Dr Grene researches her case, de discovers a document that tells a very different version of Roseanne’s life from what she can recall. Sebastian Barry writes so beautifully, and braids together two stories in a delightfully surprising way, whilst also depicting the horrors and hypocrisies of rural Ireland, the cruelties of civil war and the pernicious influence of the priesthood.

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