The novel Discover APR is a work by James Joyce. This collection of short stories is almost a coming of age story about Joyce's upbringing in Galway, Ireland during the mid-nineteen hundreds. In many ways Joyce wrote this book for his own children, because it was a time when Joyce's mother would have great bouts with mental illness. As such, Joyce created a detailed and descriptive world where the modern Dublin teenager could easily become immersed.
It is easy to see the influence of James Joyce here. The language is formal and neat. Joyce's use of language has the tone of a learned author. Joyce uses the past quite often too, and one piece of land after another unites the characters in this fantastic book. There is also the recurring dreamlike quality about the country that Joyce so loved.
The story begins in the small town of Pownesbrad, in rural Galway, where Thomas Pownes takes on a task of finding his old friend, Frank Laigh, who had gone missing back in August. He goes to the spot where Laigh's body was found and searches for some signs of the young man, but gets no satisfactory results. Then, one night, he stumbles upon an ancient stone that has a lock on it. It leads him to discover APR, which stands for Armagh Patrick, a boy who disappeared while playing at the local beach.
When he finds out that there are records of the man's disappearance, Thomas goes to the scene of the crime and finds it quite appalling. It then leads him to APR's grandmother, Mrs. Murphy, who tells him that the child ran away from home because she was looking for her best friend, Frank. He then goes to ask her for help, but she tells him that she doesn't know him and is not his real mother, only half his real mother.
As soon as he arrives, she starts to get suspicious and tells him that it was just a dream. Later in the day she takes him to the attic where she tells him that she knows it is Frank Laigh because he always took her to the same spot every night when they played in the sandpit. In fact, she had been waiting for him to arrive so that she could have Frank's attention and get him to buy her something. The next day, Thomas goes back to Mrs. Murphy's house and finds the real skull. When he reaches the bottom floor, he realizes that it is APR, who had been trying to discover where his real mother went.
I don't want to give too much away. This book is very good and will keep you reading until the end. The main story line involves an investigation that involves some very good clues, including some that are quite macabre. However, I think this book would be better enjoyed if you knew a little about the tragic background of the main character, instead of simply going with the first morbid moment that pops into your head. The writing style is very easy to follow along with and I also found that the plot kept me interested throughout. Bottom line is that this book is a very good read.
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