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  • Headline Review

The Second Prison

Ronan Bennett

3 Reviews

Rated 0

Fiction, Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

The disturbing and thought-provoking first novel from Ronan Bennett, which was shortlisted for the Irish Times Aer Lingus Prize

Kane is part of a group of young Irish republican activists, whose belief in their cause at times competes with an urge to inform the police. After he is let out of jail for his alleged part in the murder of another informer, Kane goes to England to seek out and avenge himself on the final surviving member of his cell. Here he is drawn ever more deeply into the web of Tempest, the psychotic Special Branch policeman who destroyed Kane's cell in Belfast. Kane's encounter with him closes the circle of this taut, compelling novel.

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Praise for The Second Prison

  • 'The way in which humane values emerge not from the idealised women who are supposed to represent them but from Kane's fellow-prisoners is genuinely distinguished. And the structure, counterpointing prison's sterile rhythmwith the energy of life outside, emphasises the starkness of the choice before him' Andro Linklater, The Spectator

  • 'Prisons material are all too often transformed into prisons metaphorical, but the theme is rarely as well done as it is here... Bennett's republished debut mixes thriller with prison diary; the portrayal of Kane is subtle, sorrowful and nicely low key' Guardian

  • 'A bleak but fascinating portrait' Times Metro

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Ronan Bennett

Ronan Bennett was born and brought up in Belfast, and has a Ph.D. in history from King's College, London. He is the author of The Second Prison (shortlisted for the Irish Times/Aer Lingus prize), Overthrown By Strangers, The Catastrophist (shortlisted for the Whitbread Novel Award) and most recently Havoc, in its Third Year (longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2004). He has written screenplays for film and t.v. for BBC1 - and also works as a journalist.

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