Patrick Radden Keefe’s great achievement is to tell Northern Ireland’s 50 years of conflict through personal stories — a gripping and profoundly human explanation for a past that still denies and defines the future ... Only an outsider could have written a book this good. Irish or British writers are tainted by provenance ... handles the minefield scrupulously, dodges loaded vocabulary and allows people to condemn themselves by their actions ... Humanity shines through in the small anecdotes ... I can’t praise this book enough: it’s erudite, accessible, compelling, enlightening. I thought I was bored by Northern Ireland’s past until I read it.
... an outsider’s perspective is what gives Say Nothing its exacting and terrifying lucidity ... Keefe follows the McConville story, interviewing more than a hundred sources and digging deeper and deeper, to the point where he comes to his own conclusion about who murdered her. But the culpability of any one individual is only part of this meticulously reported book ... Keefe’s narrative is an architectural feat, expertly constructed out of complex and contentious material, arranged and balanced just so ... Keefe’s depiction of Price is so rounded and intimate you’ll be surprised to learn that he never spoke to her ... This sensitive and judicious book raises some troubling, and perhaps unanswerable, questions.
What happened to McConville and the quest to find out who was responsible makes Patrick Radden Keefe’s remarkable book a gripping piece of non-fiction. This is an achievement in itself, but Say Nothing — breathtaking in its scope and ambition — is much more than that. A staff writer for The New Yorker, Radden Keefe has produced a searing examination of the nature of truth in war and the toll taken by violence and deceit. The result is a lyrically written work that will take its place alongside the best of the books about the Troubles, among them Ten Men Dead by David Beresford, Rebel Hearts by Kevin Toolis and Killing Rage by Eamon Collins ... By the end of this unrelenting, epic work, it is hard to feel optimistic.