“The Temporary Gentleman”

I said I’d read something by Sebastian Barry after “Days Without End” – and I’m glad I did. Whilst I’m not sure “The Temporary Gentleman” completely lives up to the hyperbole on the front and back covers (but do books ever?!), it is a tight, really well-written story, filled with tragedy, emotion, pathos.

There’s a fair chunk of “but for the grace of God” about it, as it’s easy enough to recognise how people’s frailties can allow them to slip into a downwards spiral. You find yourself quietly wanting there to be a happy ending for Mai and Jack…