The Secret Scripture
A novel by
Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2008
Faber and Faber 2008
Written in English
Roseanne McNulty, perhaps nearing her one-hundredth birthday – no one is quite sure – faces an uncertain future, as the Roscommon Regional Mental Hospital where she’s spent the best part of her adult life prepares for closure. Over the weeks leading up to this upheaval, she talks often with her psychiatrist Dr Grene. This relationship, guarded but trusting after so many years, intensifies and complicates as Dr Grene mourns the death of his wife.
Told through their respective journals, the story that emerges – of Roseanne’s family in 1930s Sligo – is at once shocking and deeply beautiful. Refracted through the haze of memory and retelling, Roseanne’s story becomes an alternative, secret, history of Ireland. Exquisitely written, it is the story of a life blighted by terrible mistreatment and ignorance, and yet marked still by love and passion and hope.