I've read a few books on holidays but this one I started in Canada and finished in Ireland. I've loved Barry but there have also been times when I found him just too lyrical, to the point of sounding a little twee. In general, I have little appetite for lyricism, but sometimes I let it in and I've made an exception for Barry a lot.
Where Secret Scripture pulled it off, On Canaan's Side failed for me. In the end, I just didn't fall in love with the heroine in the same way. It seemed her life just happened for her and she recounted it all blaming nobody, nothing; aloof. And maybe that's fair, because she was unhinged from her life by layers of grief. But I just didn't connect with her and so I felt cold reading her soft voice, irate at her sweet turns of phrase.
Still, you could read Barry to me at night and I would tell you I love the cadence of his words. There's something to be said for reading a writer who cares that much about how he sounds, who begs to be read out loud. And I can get a lot of sustenance off just that. Because where I find myself vexed by lyricism, I love that feeling of falling through words.
But it just didn't come together for me. That moment, when you finish a book, is normally one of elated tragedy. It should stop your heart just a little. Instead, I just put down this book and picked up another without feeling any of that.