Read Unspoken by Gerard Stembridge Online


17 June 1959.It's Election Day in Ireland, but Ann Strong has other things on her mind. Terrified of miscarriage after losing her last baby, she is admitted into the labour ward of St Gerard's hospital. Outside, her husband Fonsie waits anxiously with four other fathers-to-be. Men of their time, they scarcely speak to each other. But their children, born together on this d17 June 1959.It's Election Day in Ireland, but Ann Strong has other things on her mind. Terrified of miscarriage after losing her last baby, she is admitted into the labour ward of St Gerard's hospital. Outside, her husband Fonsie waits anxiously with four other fathers-to-be. Men of their time, they scarcely speak to each other. But their children, born together on this day, will grow up in a changed world that questions and connects.31 December 1961. Gavin Bloom is floor manager on the first ever live television broadcast in Ireland. It's a prestigious job, but a part of him feels a fraud. Though talking is what he does best, there is one thing Gavin never speaks about -- not even to himself.10 October 1964. Dom, a brash, clever, reckless politician with a beautiful wife, sees himself as an Irish JFK. When he is prosecuted for drunk driving, his career seems to be over. But then he and the policeman who has charged him come face to face in court. They don't exchange a word, but something happens between them that changes Dom's life and propels him to help change the life of every child in the country.Unspoken charts the interlocking stories of a group of unforgettable characters through the 1960s, a tumultuous decade during which Ireland threw off some ancient shackles yet assumed other, more modern ones. Alive with character and understated ambition, it is both a magnificent work of literature and an absolute delight....

Title : Unspoken
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781906964658
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 433 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Unspoken Reviews

  • Kevin
    2019-05-23 12:19

    Even though I was told how great a read this book was, especially from a Limerick person's point of view, I had my reservations about this book. Possibly this was in part to the seeming unpopularity of the novel but also I was worried that the story would be bogged down in the detail with references to a time I knew nothing about. I was an utter fool to think so. First off, one of the many things that made this book for me was the portrayal of childhood and family life, especially from a Limerick point of view. Between holidaying and donkey rides in Ballybunion, the enchanting sing-song with the gang, the prayers to St.Anthony, the sense of community among a group of poor, lower class people, your Mam opening up your post to see what came for you ever before you get home, your teacher calling you by your Irish name when calling the "rola", the countless descriptions of places and company in the Limerick area and the unforgettably Limerick phrases like "C'mere I wancha"" and "G'way outta that!"... I could go on forever. Family life is shown to be warm and comforting despite the obvious hardships the families endure. During this time, people lived within their means and were greatly supported by the community around them where everyone was in a similar situation. The book also provides a commentary on the political happenings of the time, showing the corruption as well as the apparent death of old Ireland through the eyes of De Valera. It even reaches as far as to show the business-like actions of the priests during the 60s showing the spread of a corruption across Ireland. This is, of course, all in lead up to the Haughey government which this book is a prequel to. What truly made this personal for me is that my mother actually knows the Stembridge family, having worked with Gerry's brother years ago. Sadly however, Gerry brother David passed away a few years ago. This link was discovered while I was halfway through the book when I asked my mother if she had heard of Mr. Stembridge from Scrap Saturday. I didn't expect to discover the well of information and personal connections, to the point of remembering her talking about an old friend of her dying and her going to the funeral. It was then that I checked the front pages of the novel to who the book was dedicated to, only to see "For my brother, David". I plan on reading "The Effect of Her" in the near future and have high hopes that the continuation of this story with no doubt lead to further revelations and enjoyment.

  • Allan
    2019-05-13 06:13

    This was the second time is read this book, and I enjoyed it just as much this time as I did on first reading. Beginning on the day that De Valera becomes President, it follows a number of people through the 1960s: the Strong family, with Fonsie, a coal man, his wife Ann, his three sons, a daughter, and new baby Frances, who is born at the start of the book; Dom, a fictional representation of Donagh O'Malley, a Fianna Fáil TD and eventual cabinet minister; De Valera himself as he reluctantly carries out the role of President; RTE employees, Baz Malloy and Gavin Bloom, the former a cameraman for many of the iconic RTE programmes of the decade, the latter a gay studio floor manager, who's sexuality is discreetly accepted by those around him; and Brendan Barry, his closeted, married, sometime partner.Sounds complicated. But what emerges is a narrative that perfectly captures many of the main social and political events of the decade. Many of the characters' paths intertwine at different points, but in a believable way, and while much of the book deals with the ordinary lives of the ordinary citizens of the unnamed Limerick and ROI at the time, Stembridge delivers a highly entertaining, sometimes funny, and often thought provoking novel that had me wanting more on first reading, more that was eventually delivered via the equally enjoyable 'The Effect of Her', published in 2013.Reminiscent in style to the likes of Strumpet City, this book is a must read for anyone interested in modern Irish history.

  • Barbara
    2019-05-07 05:24

    Ireland in the 60's was quite a different place than it is now, and from the US of the 60's. Religious, conservative, and poor. The story centers on the Strong family, a working class family, struggling to keep it together. The youngest of the family, Frankie, is a brilliant kid, who loves to read. It helps to know some modern Irish history to follow the characters and events in the book. De Valera is a creaking shadow of himself, clutching onto the past and determined not to see progress in Ireland. In the book he is Eamon. I think my favorite character was Fonsie, Frankie's father. A man, devoted to his family, who works himself half to death to take care of his family. The story begins in June, 1959 and carries on through 1969. In the decade, the Irish get television, free secondary education, and the troubles start in Northern Ireland. I am eager to read the sequel The Effect of Her.

  • S. Baker
    2019-05-18 09:23

    A lovely, gentle book filled with casual observations of a time and place. As an entertainment, it's witty, insightful and beautifully drawn. As a social document, I suspect it is priceless. I'm emotionally invested in the central family and hope there will be a sequel because I really want to know what Francis chooses to do with his undoubted talents.

  • Katherine Day
    2019-05-08 05:23

    This book about the 1960s in Ireland was quite a good read but ultimately unsatisfying. Some characters I just didn't care about - the politicians such as Dom, an attractive but somewhat superficial man whose wife is simply and condescendingly referred to as 'his Beauty'. The gay characters also seemed a bit forced and the wife of the married one was also treated as if she didn't actually matter. The salt-of-the-earth Strong family however were great and I would rather have had more of them, I loved little Francis.

  • Margaret Madden
    2019-05-11 09:23

    4.5 stars. Review to follow...

  • Aine
    2019-05-10 09:15

    "Ann Strong did not vote in the presidential election, because on that June evening, her waters broke". (Around the Year in 52 books challenge #49 a great opening line.)It was a good time to re-read this book - it is set in the 1960s, including the 50th anniversary of the 1916 Rising while we are currently celebrating 100 years. Two generations on from that potent revolution, Ireland has again reached a time of social and political change: the passing of the political guard from old-school DeValera to the more modern Lemass, the introduction of television & the outside world to Irish livingrooms, and the introduction of free secondary education to the masses.Stembridge looks at developments at a national level (in the Aras, the cabinet and in RTE) and on a local level (in the Strong household, the local school and the local church). The novel is scattered with the authentic history of my hometown - Krupps, Spaights, Donkeys, the Redemptorists, O'Mahonys, The Dane, The Lyric... Using characters based on real-life figures, like Dev, Dom, Baz and the Lizard himself, Stembridge sketches real events from the perspective of an imaginary family: rezoning, free education, the power of the Church, the Civil Rights movement in the North. But Stembridge's masterstroke is his characterization, from hardworking, laid-back Fonsie to the weary lioness Ann who remind me so strongly of my own parents. From the well-rounded and sympathetic Strong family to the devious and masterful Dom; from the hopeful and under-appreciated Gavin to the idealistic and wasted talent of Baz, Stembridge shares our history through the eyes of the very human people who observed it first hand. I love this book because it feels so close to me. I'd definitely recommend it to any Limerick or Irish readers.

  • Jo-anne
    2019-05-16 12:19

    Didn't quite make it on my recommend list but I did think it was very much a ""voice" of Ireland past.A friend gave me a big bag of books and I'm working my way through which is how I came to read this...would not have picked it up otherwise.

  • Ciara
    2019-04-27 06:29

    Set in a really interesting time (1960s) but there was no overall sense of coherence between the different stories.

  • Mary Lou
    2019-05-02 12:33

    An interesting social commentary of 60s Southern Ireland- perhaps a little long

  • Anne
    2019-04-30 05:19

    Reviewed on

  • Phil Kingston
    2019-05-20 11:07

    Beautiful book, filling out the fond period recreation with compassion for the characters and a keen sense of lives evolving or not as society changes around them.