In 2010, when the recession took root in Ireland, the young people looked at the ground they were standing on and realised it was rotten. Rotten in so many ways, but especially in the ways made by man. So most decided it was time to do what their forefathers had done during times of famine, when the ground was rotten too, and leave. For America. And Newfoundland. And AustrIn 2010, when the recession took root in Ireland, the young people looked at the ground they were standing on and realised it was rotten. Rotten in so many ways, but especially in the ways made by man. So most decided it was time to do what their forefathers had done during times of famine, when the ground was rotten too, and leave. For America. And Newfoundland. And Australia. And Canada. But in the winter of 2010, a group of college students had a different idea. They weren’t going to leave. They would simply find a patch of land that hadn’t been contaminated and live off it. Just like their forefathers had always done before the land became rotten and the country corrupted by greed. This is their story....
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Gabriel's Gate Reviews
Book Title: "Gabriel’s Gate”Author: Tom GalvinPublished By: Book RepublicAge Recommended: 18+Reviewed By: Kitty BullardRaven Rating: 5Review: A rousing story about the recession in Ireland and how a group of youngsters decide not to evacuate like so many, they decide to stay and FIGHT! Tom Galvin’s story is unique and intriguing, one you have to pay attention to, to understand. This story will challenge the intellectual deep inside of every person.A great book, and amazing story, and one that leaves a lasting impression.
I quite enjoyed this story. It is a great account at what Ireland has been through in the past few years and I love that the group took it among themselves to take what they had and to make the best of it. I found the writing to be very descriptive and I found the background very interesting. If you like a well written piece of fiction I highly recommend this book. If you have ties to Ireland (as I do) I think you should definitely read this book.
Tom Galvin's Gabriel's Gate opens with it's main character, G, spying on a flock of crows scavenging in an empty schoolyard. It's a potent image, one that permeates not only the book's commentary on a country brought to its knees by the scavenging of bankers and property developers, but also G's psyche - crows having become a symbol of all that is evil in his childhood.The premise of Gabriel's Gate is not a new one - the Utopian ideal of commune living turns sour as reality bites - but its setting in post-boom Ireland lends it a new energy. The novel follows a group of students who rather than emigrate after college, come together to live off the land on a farm inherited by G's best friend, John.At the centre of the commune is the friendship between the two, and while G is a sceptic who doesn't trust the world, he has misguidedly placed his trust in John. For at the heart of the farm, with its statue of Gabriel guarding the gates, is a dark property development secret that culminates in tragedy.As the gang works the land through the seasons, getting their hands dirty in ways they never imagined, Galvin stealthily delivers a multiple-layered narrative that is at once a black comedy of errors, astute social commentary and creeping Gothic horror. There is a malevolent presence stalking the farm and its inhabitants, and as each night falls, unknown terror draws closer.Many of the reviews of this novel talk about Galvin's years living in Poland and their influence on his sparse, filmic writing style, but this is a quintessentially Irish book, in the way John B Keane wrote Irish books. They told stories that had the underpinnings of mythology and spoke about the deep connection of the Irish people to land through ancestry. Keane's tales were set in an Ireland that never knew wealth, while Galvin's mythological story unfolds in an Ireland that has squandered it. Arguably he has written the first book about the spirit of Ireland in a new age and with it he has become the front-runner of a new generation of Irish writers.
This book was really interesting. I got this book as a giveaway here on goodreads. My first impression of this book was it might be about fantasy stuff because of the book cover. But this book shows how humane humans are in need. I like how Galvin sort of illustrates what they actually do in a farm. Especially the pig slaughter part which left an impression in me because I did witness a pig getting slaughtered for roasting in our backyard in the province and it was NOT A PRETTY sight.It was also kind of thrilling for me because I did not anticipate what would happen in the end. I was a wee bit disappointed because it ended just like that? Just like that? I thought it would end in a happily ever after like they got prosperous yada yada.. But one of my criterions for a good book is that I wouldn't be able to guess the ending and it passes. I really did not anticipate that that would be the end of it. haha :D
My Opinion:Interesting book. Not exactly the type of book I would look to read but it was interesting. Tom does write a very descriptive world where you can get absorbed into it. I don’t know that much history on Ireland or what it is even like now. So it was interesting to read about it. I do think he is a wonderful writer just the book was not my type of book. You are taken into this world of some college kids as they try and rebuild themselves and some land in Ireland. The beginning is like a background on the people who are going to rebuild the farm and land. Then we are taken on a journey of how they do that. The characters were interesting enough but it wasn’t a page turner for me nor could keep me captured in the book. I like books that have a bit more thrill. With that being said, if you like more of a drama type of book, I think you would like this one. It is well written and you can imagine being in Ireland.I give Gabriel’s Gate by Tom Galvin 3 of 5 stars.
This is a powerful and beautifully paced novel, which boasts a host of engaging characters who are trying to find their place in the economic wasteland of contemporary Ireland. But this novel is more than just its backdrop. It stays in your head because it challenges us to rethink or romanticize on the choices we've made in life. "Gabriel's Gate" is clearly cinematic material with the lead character G potentially one of the great literary heroes of our time. Highly recommended.
With the demise of the Celtic Tiger and the onset of the “economic doom and gloom” so popular in the media at the moment the young people of Ireland looked at their country with hopelessness. Some decided to emigrate, but those in this book decided to try something else. They would return to the land. Come together and work in the old ways, trying to become self-sufficient and maybe make some sort of future for themselves.Or at least that is what the blurb on the back of the book indicates. In reality this is a mess of a novel.For some reason the main individual in this book isn’t given a name, instead they are only identified as G. Sometimes, having a nameless character can add something to a book or a film. The nameless mysterious narrator. But then why give him the initialised nickname at all? But that’s a minor quibble. And had G. had a character or personality I would have been quite happy to get over it. But he doesn’t.From the opening page I had a bad impression of this novel. It begins with a sort of a rant about crows, about them being the devil’s birds. Honestly? Really? I mean, okay, that was an old story told to G. as a child, but it is a theme that echoes through the book. And yet it is supposed to be a reality-based (or somewhat so) novel, not a fantasy story. Not that I particularly like that trope in fantasy novels either.The anti-crow theme continues with other descriptions of them being evil, or that while all other birds are angels or some crap, and you should never hurt one but it is fine and dandy to kill crows and magpies. Why is that? I really don’t get people who hate crows. I mean sure, some of what they do isn’t pretty, and they may be regarded as vermin. But so too are many other animals and yet they don’t get the same level of hatred. But this whole crow issue is distracting me from the book itself. Which is probably a good thing in a way, because the book just isn’t very good.The opening chapter is somewhat readable. A story about G. standing up to a bully at school. And on behalf of a “softer” child too. Establishing his “heroic” conditionals, you see. But it just doesn’t read like anything remotely real. It is stilted and clumsy. And clumsy is the word I think describes this book.It wants to be about society and culture, and how the Celtic Tiger ruined Ireland and the local communities, and how land and family are important. But it doesn’t do anything of the sort. And because it thinks that it has this great message I have to judge this book even more harshly than I would an action or light read. But even if this was intended as a light read it still wouldn’t be very good I’m afraid.I hate writing these sort of reviews. I always feel that to write a book must be such a huge amount of work for anyone. And then for someone to dislike it, and write about why they dislike it, is sorta mean. But at the same time, I feel that I have to be honest. And if I’m honest, this book just is not good.
Gabriel's Gate is totally different that anything I have ever read before. I was hooked from the first chapter and devoured the book quite quickly. I am so intrigued by G (the main character), he is a bit of a mystery and I found myself thinking about him constantly. Special thanks to Tom Galvin for the review copy of this fantastic book.G and his friends are fresh out of college. G has had an idea for quite some time and he puts it to his two mates Lofty and Ben. He doesn't want to go to Canada, America or anywhere else like most people are doing. He wants to get a group of people together, bring things back to basics and live off the land.Ben and Lofty aren't thrilled by the idea, but they say they will give it a year and see how it goes. G has already got a farm lined up, that a fella called John inherited. The farm had been neglected and needs allot of hard work to bring it back from the brink. He holds a meeting in and manages to get 15 people together.Everyone moves into the farm house and they all start working very hard. They seem to all get on well and everything seems to be running smoothly. But it soon becomes clear that someone doesn't want them there, something sinister is at work.Creepy things start to happen to the group and they can feel eyes on them everywhere they go. John isn't saying much, just that there was an old family feud with The Macmillan (neighbours), who are not around anymore.The ending I was not expecting, it was so simplistic, I couldn't believe that was it, end of story. But I think it suited the storyline perfectly. I could imagine myself doing what this group of friends done, working the land. Something that I have always found so interesting, I think that's why Gabriel's Gate appealed to me so much.Gabriel's Gate is extremely well written and had a great pace throughout, I only wished it was longer. I will definitely go back and read this again and again.My favourite character was the main one:G - I loved G, he is very mysterious, I was always constantly wondering what his name was and thinking ''Bet you it's Gabriel.'' He has a good head on his shoulders, says things like it is and he gets along with everyone.Carly :)http://fictionfascination.blogspot.com/
I like the fact that Mr. Galvin chose to name his main character G. It was odd and added a little flair of mystery to him. And it was easy to follow him. We’re going through everyday life in Ireland, so the mystery was a good thing. The descriptions of “place” were also quite good.The plot picks up when things start going badly for the settlers of the farm. It’s apparent that someone doesn’t want them there. It kind of reminded me of The Village a little bit. The pace was still a bit slow. I periodically had to remind myself why I was reading the book. What was the point of the book? There is a message in the book that’s worth reading.All in all, the writing was good, the story elements were there. Setting was by far the strongest story element of the book. I think characterization was the weakest. If you’re a busy person like me, take note: there are flashbacks, it’s narrative heavy, and the plot is slow. *shrug* You might want to pick this book up when you can RELAX and read it! It’s not a read-in-your-spare-five-minutes kind of book. In five minutes, you will not have invested the time to find the meat. You’ll need ten. Maybe fifteen. If you have time to sit down and really read it and if you don’t need a pushy plot-line, pick up Gabriel’s Gate.
I was lucky enough to get this book through Goodreads.com's First Reads giveaways. I love the premis of this: free books for book lovers to review for other book lovers. It always makes me choose books I wouldn't have necessarily gravitated toward otherwise. While I found the idea of this book intriguing and the story, in general, interesting enough, I had a tough time getting into it. I'm not sure if it was a a language barrier (Galvin is from Ireland), but the verse felt choppy and disjointed at times. Overall, a good book, but not one that lit a literary fire for me.