Posted 20 hours ago

An Evil Cradling

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I could quote so many passages from this book but one stands out "I wanted to affirm that I was myself and would not allow my integrity to be taken from me by a surrender to what another believed or would make me be". At the same time, I don't think he could have written this book without being upfront and honest about all aspects of himself. Overall, I think Keenan struck the balance right between focusing on himself and focusing on others. Also extraordinary how restrained he is about John’s personal information and things they must have thought or felt about each other.

This is a personal piece of writing dealing with his personal experience, and it was written during a time of recovery from the incident itself. It’s definitely a strange and unsettling read, and about half way through I found I had to look Brian Keenan up on YouTube- to hear his voice saying some of these things, to know that he survived, to feel his reflective tone- I couldn’t carry on on reading with my own voice.I must confess that I strongly believe that this experience of Keenan’s, when for five years he only had the words and the images that his mind could create, completely shaped his writing. I can only justify this by saying it didn't really grab me but then one could argue that there is nothing much in a true account of a horrendous hostage incident lasting over four and a half years to be grabbed by. In 1986, Brian Keenan, an English Literature professor from Belfast, Northern Ireland, decided to take a break from his native city. How, again, how he did this is beyond my ability to understand, because I have never been imprisoned or tortured. Made me feel very humble reading about what the hostages survived and how they came through with dignity and humour.

Scriptural in its resonances and its broad artistry, while being as gripping as an airport thriller ― Observer --This text refers to the paperback edition. Absolutely, hauntingly beautiful, filled with lessons in moral strength and integrity that all of us should learn, but few of us ever get the chance to discover about themselves. There are several actions that could trigger this block including submitting a certain word or phrase, a SQL command or malformed data. Please include what you were doing when this page came up and the Cloudflare Ray ID found at the bottom of this page.What Brian Keenan and his fellow hostages went through is terrifying and Mr Keenan's story telling is superb.

Even the observations that he makes about his own survival and mental state at the time feel distant, something that he's already thought through and is offering up to the reader pre-digested. I am so glad I have read the book and have just a chink of understanding of what he and others went through. The start of the book gives a brief background to his life, and then a quick outline of his first few months in Lebanon. This book is an inspiration; I so admired Brian for his determination and humanity throughout and I still do. I imagine Keenan with his back straight and a steady hand as he wrote it – though how he could have managed that beats me.

It’s tinged with black humour here and there, and a great deal of reflection and self-examination as he observes himself and his reactions, determined to stay strong. I have an inherent respect for anyone who could survive for so long in such brutal conditions, but while the experience itself is interesting, that doesn't necessarily make for an enjoyable read. He became headline news when he was kidnapped by fundamentalist Shi'ite militiamen and held in the suburbs of Beirut for the next four and a half years.

I was intrigued as Middle East history and people overcoming struggles are things I enjoy reading about. There were certain areas where I do think that he wrote in excess, and could have benefited from being more direct. He was kept blindfolded throughout most of his ordeal and was chained hand and foot when he was taken out of solitary.The author was very clear that the writing of this book was a cathartic exercise; I sincerely hope that it served that purpose. You can change your choices at any time by visiting Cookie preferences, as described in the Cookie notice. I can see why rationalising their actions in such simplistic, definitive ways may be a necessary part of his healing -- to apply narrative to such brutality -- but overall I find it an unfortunate writing choice that weakens the overall narrative, and my trust in him as a narrator.

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