I don’t think I have anything to say about this book that hasn’t already been said before a hundred times, but I still have to review it, because it was fantastic.
Say Nothing is the story of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, focusing on the period from the 70s up until the present day. It’s centered around the disappearance of Jean McConville, a widowed mother of ten who was abducted by the IRA in 1972. It also covers several key players who were involved in the Troubles, including Brendan Hughes, Gerry Adams, and Dolours Price. It is one of the most interesting books I’ve ever read.
I have no personal connection to this story, and I knew very little about the Troubles prior to reading this (mostly what I’ve gleaned from U2 songs). This book held my interest from start to finish. One thing I hate in nonfiction books is when the author sucks you in to a story, and then the chapter ends and suddenly they’re introducing you to a whole bunch of new people and the storyline you were so involved in is put on the backburner for awhile. This happened repeatedly in Say Nothing (my one criticism is that it’s sold as the story of Jean McConville, but there are long stretches of the book where she’s not even mentioned). But, even though I might start the new chapter feeling a little disgruntled, within a few sentences I would be sucked in to the story again. Patrick Radden Keefe is an incredible writer, and the story is just unbelievable. I found myself gasping out loud and unable to put the book down. Hughes, Adams, Price, McConville’s children, and all the rest–the things they did, the way they lived, the things that happened to them–I just couldn’t stop reading.
I was already planning to read Keefe’s newest book about the Sacklers, but now it’s shooting up to the top of my list. If you have Say Nothing on your list, I can’t recommend it enough. Do yourself a favor and read it soon.