A Thousand Moons by Sebastian Barry: boundless empathy

Book Review: author revisits Days Without End’s Winona and gives her a voice

Sebastian Barry, Laureate for Irish Fiction, has described his own writing as motivated by ‘the thing that hurt me into trying to put something back in its place’. Photograph:  Darragh Kane

Sebastian Barry, Laureate for Irish Fiction, has described his own writing as motivated by ‘the thing that hurt me into trying to put something back in its place’. Photograph: Darragh Kane

One of Sebastian Barry’s extraordinary gifts as a writer is his boundless capacity for empathy, for inhabiting the skin, nerves and mouths of characters the river of history tends to wash away.

Barry’s literary project has been to give life and voice to ephemeral figures and to the silences and traumas that underpin the familiar stories.

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