On Canaan's Side - Sebastian Barry The lad knows how to unspool a yarn, that is for certain. If you're planning to read this book, I would caution you against reading long detailed reviews about the plot and characters. The story really needs to unfold at the author's pace in the proper sequence. If you have hints of what's coming, it will dull your enjoyment of the book. JUST THE BASICS: Lilly is an 89-year-old woman who is preparing to take her own life. Her grandson Bill has committed suicide, which is just one too many losses for her in a long life of great loss. She does not want to linger in a world without her Bill. Lilly spends seventeen days reeling out her life story in what she calls a 'confession.' She tells of her girlhood in Ireland, and then the rest of her life as a wind-blown immigrant in America. Sebastian Barry is a gifted Irish storyteller. My only reservation about this novel is that there's an almost affectless quality to much of the narration. The most joyful and the most heartbreaking moments are presented with a certain detachment that keeps the reader at a distance from the events. And yet, I read from page 67 to the end all in one sitting. I tend to be a restless reader, and a book has to be a genuine jewel to hold me still for that long. On Canaan's Side is one of those jewels, but it has the muted luster of a pearl rather than the dazzle of a diamond. I found it 'unobjectionable,' as Lilly herself might say.