Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Leabhair Eireannach For You

Ireland is known as the land of saints and scholars- and writers, too. If you're interested in Irish literature you don't have to stop at Yeats and Joyce. Here are some recent favorites of mine from the Emerald Isle.

The All of It, by Jeannette Haien, is a dark Irish family story about a dying woman with a secret, which she confesses to her priest on her deathbed. It's a short novel, enough to read over a cup of tea, and a particular favorite of author Ann Patchett.

Time Present and Time Past by Deirdre Madden, is one of my favorite recent Irish novels, about
an average family just before the crash of 2008. It tells the story of troubles and triumphs, love and the passage of time. It's beautiful!


Arimathea, by Frank McGuinness, is a quiet novel about an Italian painter who comes to a small town in Donegal to decorate church just after World War 2. It was a bookseller favorite all around Ireland in 2013.
How the Irish Saved Civilization is Thomas Cahill's love letter to Ireland, about the little-understood role of the early Catholic Church in preserving classical literature. It's a wonderful, engaging and informative read.

The Rage, by Gene Kerrigan, is gritty and dark crime fiction set in Dublin, perfect for readers who like Tana French who want more Ireland. I love this guy's books. If you like Irish crime, also check out author Stuart Neville, whose books are set in and around Belfast. His The Ghosts of Belfast is a contemporary classic about the Troubles and the damage left in its wake.

Round Ireland with a Fridge is British comedian Tony Hawks's true, strange and irresistible tale of hitchhiking around Ireland...with a fridge. Reading this book is like being there. He does such a great job giving the reader the flavor and flow of this wonderful country.

These are just a few of my more recent favorite Irish reads. I hope you can find something to enjoy this St. Patrick's Day, or any time you want a taste of one of the best countries in the world!


As the Crowe Flies and Reads said...

Happy St Patrick's Day! I'm so glad you posted this today, as I'm in the final throes of book buying and planning for my first trip to Ireland at the end of April. I can't believe how close it is now.

I haven't decided which piece of Irish fiction that I'll be traveling with, but I'm pretty certain that it will be one of the books on your list today.

Marie Cloutier said...

OMG what a treat. Traveling to Ireland for the first time is a wonderful experience. I envy you! I would recommend Deirdre Madden's book when you go, and Tony Hawks's book NOW!