Cal by Admin Online

Title : Cal
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780393313321
Language : English
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 160

When it was first published, Bernard MacLaverty's fiction masterpiece was hailed by Michael Gorra in the New York Times Book Review as "a marvel of technical perfection. . . . Cal is a most moving novel whose emotional impact is grounded in a complete avoidance of sentimentality. . . . [It] will become the Passage to India of the Troubles."For Cal, a Belfast teenager who,When it was first published, Bernard MacLaverty's fiction masterpiece was hailed by Michael Gorra in the New York Times Book Review as "a marvel of technical perfection. . . . Cal is a most moving novel whose emotional impact is grounded in a complete avoidance of sentimentality. . . . [It] will become the Passage to India of the Troubles."For Cal, a Belfast teenager who, against his will, is involved in the terrible war between Catholics and Protestants, some of the choices are devastatingly simple: he can work in the slaughterhouse that nauseates him or join the dole queue; he can brood on his past or plan a future w


Cal Reviews

  • Cphe

    A bleak portrait of a young Catholic man, Cal living with his father in a Protestant Housing Development in Northern Ireland. Cal's life is one of poverty, living on the dole and going nowhere fast. Cal is involved on the fringes of the IRA but an act of violence wants him away from the conflict.Well written but short novel of the conflict, how the ties that bind you to an area, people are difficult near impossible to walk away from. A short novel that ends abruptly but is confronting. Well wort [...]

  • Jay Gertzman

    Bernard Mac Laverty’s Cal is one of the best anti-war novels I have read. It is about a civil war, the Catholics fighting for freedom from British rule (Nationalists) vs. the Protestant Loyalists in northern Ireland, with the Brit forces policing the cities where these “troubles” are taking their toll. Americans are familiar with the fighting between friends and relatives who have chosen sides in the Union vs confederacy bloodbath. In Cal, we see how one’s own confederates are equally de [...]

  • Kimbofo

    Guilt, atonement and the futility of war are the central themes in Bernard MacLaverty’s 1983 novel Cal.Set in Northern Ireland, it tells the story of Cal, a young, unemployed Catholic man living on a Protestant housing estate at the height of The Troubles. Each night he waits to be fire-bombed out of the home he shares with his father and each morning he gets up to find everything is okay.But there’s a dark, pervasive atmosphere, one that seem only conducive to fear and violence, and for muc [...]

  • Jaime

    Tender as a bruise, is this book.

  • Stephanie Jane (Literary Flits)

    See more of my book reviews on my blog, Literary FlitsCal is the first book I think that I have read which so directly addresses the sectarian violence in 1980s Northern Ireland. I remember as an older child watching television news reports of IRA bombs and attacks, not understanding much of the reasons behind such atrocities and also not realising that, on English TV anyway, we were only generally shown half the story. At one point in Cal MacLaverty has his character wonder why Protestant activ [...]

  • Glen

    I will be visiting Northern Ireland for the first time in a few months with my wife and this novel came highly recommended for its ability to communicate a lot about the Troubles with humanity and brevity. The story is spare but not shallow by any means, and the protagonist is sympathetic and emblematic of what existentialists refer to as the "thrownness" of the human condition. Cal is in the midst of a situation in which no choice is especially attractive, and no matter what he does he will dis [...]

  • Alan

    I like McLaverty's writing a lot. This is the first one I read - I thought I'd put it on GR but apparently not. A tense, superior novel set in Northern Ireland during the troubles in the 70s. Try his stories - recently read 'Matters of Life and Death' which has two great stories. /book/show/74bugger it I don't know how to put links in or italics come to that

  • Padraic

    Romeo O'Juliet meets Maggie Mae. A thoroughly depressing book from a thoroughly depressing time. An awesome writer.

  • Greta

    Life ain't easy if you coming of age in N. Ireland during the years the constant conflict between the IRA & Loyalists. Tough times, tough choices and tough consequences for mistakes made.

  • Matt

    Fine, fine novel about the Troubles in the mid 60's. The blurbs call it a classic, the "Passage To India" of the era and though I don't unfortunately know the Forester book very well, it's easy to see why.Cal McClusky is a teenager on the dole, the only son of an abbatoir man who is in the midst of some serious turmoil- physical (puberty), political (he's the only son of a widowed father who is stubbornly staying in a hostile Ulster neighborhood, a bitter Roman Catholic among aggressive Protesta [...]

  • Asun

    A beautifully sad story that makes us understand what it felt like to live in Northern Ireland during the Troubles.P.S.: My lil Glasgow-loving heart appreciated all the references. You can tell the author lives in Glasgow now haha.

  • Rebeka Várnagy


  • Ape

    This is such a heartbreakingly sad story, but so, so good. It's such a pleasure to pick up a book and think, this person really, really can write. I get the same thing from Kazuo Ishiguro for instance. I'd originally come across Cal because I like the film scores by Mark Knoffler and decided I'd give the book a go - although I've not actually seen the film version of Cal (yet).Written in the early 80s, this is set in Northern Ireland during the troubles. He writes about these things going on rat [...]

  • Stephen McQuiggan

    Cal's in love with the honey who works in the library. Cal has a problem. Cal drove the car for the gunman who murdered the honey's husband. A truly moving novel, set against a depressing backdrop I'm unfortunately all too familiar with, filled with genuinely poignant lyrical touches. It's the innocence of it all - even amid the abattoirs and senseless slayings - that really hits home; Cal's need to be forgiven or punished beyond redemption. One of the best books about the Troubles I've read.

  • Beth

    This book is certainly an emotional undertaking. I read it for a Northern Ireland class, and I just flew through it. It's one of the best insights I've ever had into the possible mindset of an IRA member who doesn't quite have the stomach for it, but gets lost and tangled in everything he's done and everything he wishes he could do.

  • Joey

    This novel poignantly addresses the complexity of being caught in cultural hubris. Cal's struggle is one that preexisted him one that will outlive him. This one made me cry, and I don't do that often. P.S. If you gave this novel anything less than five stars, ask yourself: Do I have a heart? Just kidding kind of.

  • Ariel

    Although I liked the writing style, I felt this book was a sad tale of a man who's life was going nowhere. His guilt was all that he lived for. MacLaverty is a good writer, that's not the issue. The issues is that the book was nothing more than a sad story.Personal opinion, I guess.

  • Gerry

    This is a really wonderful story about an Irish Catholic, Cal, living in Belfast in the 70's. Cal becomes involved in a murder and falls in love with the wife of the man murdered. MacLaverty has really spun a fine tale here.

  • Lynn

    Cal was okay, I didn't FLY through the book as I usually do with others though. Thought it was a bit dull at moments. The ending got me really angry, because just as it starts to get interesting, he gets arrested and the book is done. The end. Over. WHAT IS THAT ALL ABOUT?!

  • Thaliane

    It misses true suspense and action.

  • Melissa

    This is a powerful book about being caught between two worlds: the Catholic IRA of the 1980's and the Protestants of Northern Ireland. It is a mighty book, right through to the last page.

  • Melanie - iHeartFantasy

    Actual grade: 0 With no plot and bad insta-love, Cal was the most boring and meaningless book I've ever read.

  • Phils Osophie

    Schullektüre Unglaublich nervig. Werde ich irgendwann mal unvoreingenommen bewerten müssen.

  • Ben

    Was made read it in school.

  • Hazel

    This is a tiny little book but it packs an emotional punch. Cal tells the story of a Catholic lad growing up in a poor Protestant area during the troubles. I got this book during a book swap from a Scottish girl. It's on their reading list in school and she was surprised that I hadn't heard of it.This book is likely a love it or hate it book. The story is dark and depressing, mirroring the area at the time and that's the point. This isn't supposed to be a happy book with a rewarding character ar [...]

  • Tab Hunter

    Stayed up late last night finishing it. Pleasantly surprised. The movie starring Helen Mirren is great, and the short novel its based on is as good as anything I've read about the Troubles. There are ways one could pick it apart, I'm sure, on the grounds of probability and caricature, but effective nonetheless. I was pleased to learn it's still in print. Some people must be reading it. (Or is it a matter of college syllabi?) My five stars mostly register my pleasure in reading it, rather than a [...]

  • Selinalynn

    I really enjoyed reading this book. it was a gritty and realistic view of a young Catholic man trying to find his place in Protestant Northern Ireland in the 1980's. even though the book of short I enjoyed the depth that this book offered through its descriptions and the emotions it evoked in me while reading.

  • Alexis

    I picked up 'Cal' on a whim at a used book sale for 25 cents back in October or November-ish 2016, so let's just say that I didn't really know what to expect. It was a short book with an interesting premise, so I cracked it open during Winter break and read through it in two days. It was a tragic, beautiful, stunningly realistic, and harsh book. What strikes me about MacLaverty's writing is his ability to craft young male characters on the cusp of adulthood with all their open vulnerabilities, h [...]

  • Mrs. Thomas

    Ok so if creepers creep, then Cal is a creeper! He watches his muse from awkward places and angles, even when she becomes more than that. I appreciated the symbolism in this novel, and the history of the rarely (American) studied Troubles of Northern Ireland.

  • Morrigan Coady

    Really enjoyed this even though it isn't the kind of thing I would normally read. Pretty dark, but definitely interesting. Definitely a great little book.