Patrick Radden Keefe tells the story of the conflict in Northern Ireland between the Irish nationalists, the Catholics, and the unionists, the Protestants, in a time described as The Troubles.
Say Nothing is an excellent account of the Troubles; it might also be a warning, Roddy Doyle stated in a review published in The New York Times.
“The book is cleverly structured. We follow people — victim, perpetrator, back to victim — leave them, forget about them, rejoin them decades later. It can be read as a detective story,” the review added.
Doyle said: “The book is full of the language of my youth, phrases I heard every day — ‘political status,’ ‘shoot-to-kill policy,’ ‘dirty protest,’ ‘legitimate target.’ And it is full of names, names that are more than names — Gerry Adams, Bobby Sands, the Price sisters, Burntollet Bridge, Bloody Sunday, Enniskillen, Margaret Thatcher, Ian Paisley — the names of people and places, events, that carry huge emotional clout, that can still silence a room or start a fight.”
Doyle added: “If it seems as if I’m reviewing a novel, it is because “Say Nothing” has lots of the qualities of good fiction, to the extent that I’m worried I’ll give too much away.”