CAL Bernard Mac Laverty

Bernard Mac Laverty.
Below are listed quotations from the novel relating to theme and character.
“ …he did not want to venture in.”
“…only Catholic family on the whole estate.”
“…the stronger their sense of community grew the more excluded and isolated the
McCluskeys felt.”
“There was a faint affectionate amazement on their faces that there should be a
Catholic who was a good man, someone equal to them.”
“He shook his head as if there were an insect crawling in the porch of his ear.”
“…every movement of her face hypnotised him.”
“He loathed them, made from blood, like cross-sections of large warts bound in black
“…he went to his bedroom to eat again the ashes of what he had done.”
“The crows behind the church were making a racket and there had been a fly in his
bedroom which had constantly landed on him…"
“ It was Crilly who was largely responsible for Cal’s stomach having felt like a
washboard over the past year.”
“I have no stomach for it.” (Cal)
“Even to this day he could bring a lump to his throat if he wanted to by just thinking
of her.”
“The noise of the words kept him from thinking his own black thoughts.”
“The rest of his prayers consisted of telling himself how vile he was.”
“…the thing he had done was now a background to his life.”
“His fear had become a kind of anaesthetic and he smashed at anything with his fists
and feet.”
“To go to hell for all eternity”
“He was trying to get close to the one person he should be continents away from.”
“…work had a cleansing effect on him…he liked to be praised.”
“If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.”
“As he approached he could see it was her and he felt a surge of emotion.”
”…and although he hated his name, the way she said it was clean and beautiful.”
“Cal for the first time in years felt safe.”
“It wasn’t the thought of being killed that frightened him, it was the fear that he would
lose his dignity if they tortured him.”
“Like burning a wound to cleanse it.”
“He thought of himself as a monk in his cell not only deprived of light and comfort
but, in the mood he was in, deprived of God. He had ceased to believe in the one thing
that dignified his suffering.”
“People were dying every day, men and women were being crippled and turned into
vegetables in the name of Ireland.”
“His sin clawed at him, demanding attention.”
“The tiny clicking of bullets set Cal’s teeth on edge.”
“He wanted to burst out crying like a child…felt physically sick…”
“He felt he had a brand stamped in blood in the middle of his forehead which would
take him the rest of his life to purge.”
“He got the feeling that the house was the earth and the cottage the moon orbiting it.”
“Although she was light years away from him he felt the enormous pull of her. And
yet, like the moon and the earth, he knew that because of what he had done, they
could never come together. His sin kept them apart as surely as cold space.”
“He was in love with the one woman in the world who was forbidden him.”
“It was her answer to everything to turn pain and sorrow into a gift for God.”(mother)
“He would discipline himself. He felt a surge of his own power to direct his life into
whatever path he wanted.”
“…another terrible nightmare…They were becoming more frequent and more vivid.”
“He wondered how many people had cracked up like Shamie as a result of the
“The happier Cal felt, the sadder he became. He wanted to confess to her, to weep and
be forgiven.”
“He was at the bottom of an avalanche in a gully of his own making.”
“The slightness of her sin made his confession impossible.”
“The cows were Friesians and as he passed them he saw the white panels of their
hides japped with blood.”
“…ached to tell her of his love but knew it could never become a reality.”
“What he got from her he had to steal. Her sincerity he was repaying in forgeries.”
“They are all ugly with ugly emotions. Robert is no better.”
“Their hatred is not hypocritical.”
“He told lies Cal. All the time.”
“He wanted to share his guilt…to commune with her and be forgiven.”
“`Without the shedding of blood their can be no forgiveness. `”
“`I don’t think I`ve changed all that much. I see things differently now. `”
“`I just felt bad about what I was doing. It was against my conscience.`”
“The trust she showed in falling asleep beside him made him feel worse.”
“She was what he wanted most and if he couldn’t be near her he might as well be in
“…he stood in a dead man’s Y-fronts listening to the charge, grateful that at last
someone was going to beat him to within an inch of his life.”
Bernard MacLaverty