I read this novel again over the last few days. It bears comparison to any other novel you can name. Set in Dublin, this matchless story encompasses history, philosophy, heartache; it gives a glimpse of the kind of poverty that Ireland endured for so long; it spans the highest and lowest classes of an incredibly convoluted class structure; it teaches LGBTQ history; and it breaks your heart with a love story so fine, involving three amazing people who are caught up in each other’s lives at a particular volatile moment of Irish rebellion. It is indescribably great. O’Neill has an ear for wordplay, dialogue, dialect. His writing is everything. The story of Doyler and Jim, and then added to them the intricacies of MacMurrough, classes itself among the very best writing, the very best love stories, the very best evocations of world, place, and time, that any reader could ever want. I wanted to remember the story amidst my current reading of romance novels, and this book reminded me that love comes into any book as tenderly as in the greatest romances, when the writer is as able as Jamie O’Neill. Reading it the second time was even richer than the first.