Friday Reads: Irish Heritage Month
“He wanted to cry quietly but not for himself: for the words, so beautiful and sad, like music.”–James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
On the heels of St. Patrick’s Day, and in celebration of Irish-American Heritage Month, we are pleased to present a literary sampling of the fine literature —classic and contemporary—set in the Emerald Isle:
THE ELEPHANT OF BELFAST: A NOVEL by S. Kirk Walsh
Inspired by true events, this vivid and moving story of a young woman zookeeper and the elephant she’s compelled to protect through the German blitz of Belfast during WWll speaks to not only the tragedy of the times, but also to the ongoing sectarian tensions that still exist in Northern Ireland today—perfect for readers of historical and literary fiction alike.
LIFE WITHOUT CHILDREN: STORIES by Roddy Doyle
A brilliantly warm and witty portrait of our pandemic lives, told in ten heartrending short stories, from the Booker Prize–winning author of Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha. Told with Doyle’s signature warmth, wit, and extraordinary eye for the richness that underpins the quiet of our lives, Life Without Children cuts to the heart of how we are all navigating loss, loneliness, and the shifting of history underneath our feet.
THAT OLD COUNTRY MUSIC: STORIES by Kevin Barry
A collection of short stories of rural Ireland in the classic Irish mode: full of love (and sex), melancholy and magic, bedecked in some of the most gorgeous prose being written today—from the author of the wildly acclaimed Night Boat to Tangier.
PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN by James Joyce
The first, shortest, and most approachable of James Joyce’s novels, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man portrays the Dublin upbringing of Stephen Dedalus, from his youthful days at Clongowes Wood College to his radical questioning of all convention. In doing so, it provides an oblique self-portrait of the young Joyce himself.
THE ART OF FALLING: A NOVEL by Danielle McLaughlin
In this stunning debut novel, a woman’s marriage, family, and career are threatened by an old indiscretion just as she receives the opportunity of a lifetime—from the Windham Campbell Prize-winning author of the short story collection Dinosaurs on Other Planets (“Extraordinary.”—Colum McCann).
THE TRAVELLER AND OTHER STORIES by Stuart Neville; Foreword by John Connolly
A darkly glittering collection of Northern Irish noir by Stuart Neville, Los Angeles Times Book Prize–winning author. For the first time Neville offers readers a collection of his short fiction—twelve chilling stories that traverse and blend the genres of noir, horror, and speculative fiction, and which bring the history and lore of Neville’s native Northern Ireland to life.
LEONARD AND HUNGRY PAUL by Ronan Hession
In this charming and truly unique debut, popular Irish musician Ronan Hession tells the story of two single, thirty-something men who still live with their parents and who are…nice. They take care of their parents and play board games together. They like to read. They take satisfaction from their work. They are resolutely kind. And they realize that none of this is considered…normal.
IRISH FAIRY AND FOLK TALES edited by William Butler Yeats; Foreword by Paul Muldoon
Gathered by the renowned Irish poet, playwright, and essayist William Butler Yeats, the sixty-five tales and poems in this delightful collection uniquely capture the rich heritage of the Celtic imagination. Filled with legends of village ghosts, fairies, demons, witches, priests, and saints, these stories evoke both tender pathos and lighthearted mirth and embody what Yeats describes as “the very voice of the people, the very pulse of life.”
IRISH POEMS (Everyman’s Library) edited by Matthew McGuire
Organized around such themes as politics, religion, Gaelic culture, the Irish landscape, and matters of the heart, the poems collected here come from a wide range of writers old and new, including such literary giants as Jonathan Swift, Oliver Goldsmith, Oscar Wilde, W. B. Yeats, J. M. Synge, Samuel Beckett, Louis MacNeice, Patrick Kavanagh, Paul Muldoon, Evan Boland, Seamus Heaney, and many more.Organized around such themes as politics, religion, Gaelic culture, the Irish landscape, and matters of the heart, the poems collected here come from a wide range of writers old and new, including such literary giants as Jonathan Swift, Oliver Goldsmith, Oscar Wilde, W. B. Yeats, J. M. Synge, Samuel Beckett, Louis MacNeice, Patrick Kavanagh, Paul Muldoon, Evan Boland, Seamus Heaney, and many more.
For more on these and other Irish titles visit the collection Irish Lit
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