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published in 1983

147 pages


Our main character is Cal McClusckey, a 19-year-old Roman Catholic boy,

who lives with his father Shamie in Ulster. That is in a Protestant neigbourhood.

They are also the only Catholics that still live in that neighbourhood, because his farther

refuses to leave, dispite of all the threatments.

We meet Cal just after he has left school and unemployed.

His former schoolmate, Crilly forces him to take part in all sorts of raids and

beating up people, who are suspected to be 'wrong '.

Shamie, his father hears of this and takes his son to the local abattoir, where he

work. He wants to offer Cal a job, but Cal just idles around and can't stand the

sight of cows being murdered

One of the jobs Cal has to do for his 'friend' Crilly is to drive a van, but one day

he, Crilly and Crilly's friend drive by a RUC-officer (Royal Ulster Constabulary),

Robert Morton. They stop and Crilly and his mates start beatting up this RUC-officer.

Cal does nothing to stop them and the police-officer gets so seriously wounded, that he dies

later on. Cal feels very accessory, because he didn't think his friend would really

be able to kill someone.

Cal is a lazy boy and idles around, but he often goes to the library.

This is where he mets Marcella and he falls in love with her.

What he doesn't know at that time is that Marcella is the wife

of the killed RUC-officer, Robert Morton.

He tries to meet het more often, so calles 'accidentally'.

And the more he sees her, the more he falls in love with her.

But he knows he can't. It's clear that a love-affair between Marcella and Cal

is doomed to fail.

Eventough Cal to get into contact with her time and again.

Meanwhile Shamie pushes his son to get another job.

After some time he find a job on a farm, with two

older Protestant people. And as if a miracle, Marcella and her little

daugther Lucy live here too. It's the grand-parents farm.

At this time Cal has a terrible experience. Some Protestant people

from their neighbourhood set fire to their house, because Shamie refusese to part.

The fire burns the complete house. Very shocked by this, Shamie leaves and

moves in with some relatives.

Cal doesn't want to leave and lose his job and Marcella, who is now also getting a

little more interested in Cal.

Cal finds a deserted cottage behind the Morton farm.

When the Morton's discover Cal is living in that little cottage, they let him

stay their, as long as neccesary, because Cal also tries to flee from Crilly and his


At this time Marcella and Cal fell in love and Cal helps her to forget her late

husband, but he can't be totally honest to her.

Cal learns that the marriage of Robert and Marcella wasn't a very good one.

Meanwhile Cal and her are getting closer and more intimate.

One day after when Cal visited his father, now an old, weak man, he goes to the

library one more time and to his surprise he there meets Crilly, busy with putting

a bomb in a book.

Crilly demands his cooperation in his terrorist actions. Cal has to.

As they are at Crilly's house, the police is coming to pick up Crilly.

Cal flees just in time and realizes he's next.

The next day Cal is back with Marcella and writes her a good-bye letter, in which

he tells her his feeling about what he has done.

Several hours later Cal is being arrested by the police.

Cal is relieved he can now start again with a clear conscience and without Crilly and mates.


Main character is Cal, a 19-year-old Roman Catholic, living alone with his

father Shamie in Ulster and has left school and is unemployed.

Cal's mother died when he was a young boy.

Cal gets involved with the murder of a RUC-officer and falls in love

with Marcella. Cal is a weak person, because he doesn't dare to tell the truth about his past.

Also he can't so 'no'.

He's a round character, because we know his thoughts and feelings.

Marcella: she's a Catholic too, and was married to a Protestant, Robert Morton.

It wasn't a very good marriage, but when her husband is killed she has great grief.

She has a little 4-year-old daugther Lucy.

Marcella is also a round character.

Crilly is an old schoolmate of Cal, but Crilly is at the IRA and takes

advantage of Cal, because Cal can't say no.

He and his friend are the ones that are really responsable for the death of

Robert Morton.


How a civil war can be an obstacle between love and political

ideas. The people of Northern Island, blinded by religion and

political conflicts, have never been able to forget the past.

Cal is a boy who isn't one of these persons.

He has got an own opinion about religion.

He's against violence and hopes for peace, but in spite of this he get

involved with the murder of a RUC-officer.

Cal's feeling for guilt is so strong that a growing desire to get punished

gets hold of him.

So he is really glad when the police arrestets him in the end of the book.

When in civil war, people loose all their bounds, and commit things

they would never have done othetwise. But this can also form a connection

between two people.


' Cal ' describes the life of several people, in particular the course of the life of Cal.

Because of this the book is of the psychological genre.

Because the book was brought out in 1983, we can assume that this story plays in the late seventies, early eighties. But in fact, the story can be placed in the hole period from 1960 to nowadays.

The life of Cal is described from the moment he finishes his school and doesn't know

what to do.

Without any work he's is a easy victim for the IRA.

They want him to join, and so his schoolmate Crilly is sent to Cal to win him over.

Cal let him persuade to do one job, but from that moment there's no way back.

He tries to hide, but in the end he has to surrender.

But he can begin a new life with a clean concious.

The story is told by a auctoral narrator, because it is told by a narrator,

who knows everything from Cal.

Besides, Cal doesn’t speeks for himself, that is, the narrator tells us that

Cal says something.
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