Irish Novelists I Should Read

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Because I feel like I am probably missing out on tons of great stuff.

I read John McGahern's book That They May Face The Rising Sun (the title was changed in the U.S. to By The Lake FOR NO REASON WHATSOEVER.) a couple of years ago and it is one of the best books I've read in years. I just bought another copy to read again. I'm afraid that I will have to buy his other books online. I don't know how many of them even came out here.

Anyway, it is almost all new to me (weird, huh?), but if you have any faves from the last 300 years or so, lemme know.

And then maybe i'll start threads for Scotland and Wales. And Australia. And New Zealand. And Canada.

scott seward, Thursday, 7 January 2016 15:15 (three years ago) link

Patrick McCabe

(The Butcher Boy and Breakfast on Pluto)

skateboards are the new combover (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 7 January 2016 15:47 (three years ago) link

was gonna suggest pat mccabe yeah.

there's a good modern irish short story scene. kevin barry, danielle mclaughlin, colin barrett. a lot of new yorker fiction writers all emerging at once.

i highly recommend this journal: http://www.stingingfly.org/

you don't have to be the type of person who reads writing journals, it's quarterly and there are always a few brilliant pieces in it imo. they also publish collections and books.

japanese mage (LocalGarda), Thursday, 7 January 2016 16:02 (three years ago) link

i also really like claire keegan, more short stories - sorry if you are hell-bent on novels.

japanese mage (LocalGarda), Thursday, 7 January 2016 16:03 (three years ago) link

short stories are fine! i love short stories.

scott seward, Thursday, 7 January 2016 16:16 (three years ago) link

kinda can't believe i've never read the butcher boy. seems like something i should have read.

scott seward, Thursday, 7 January 2016 16:16 (three years ago) link

Flann O'Brien is an obvious writer to suggest, but I can't think of many novels as dreamlike and unsettling as The Third Policeman.

one way street, Thursday, 7 January 2016 16:18 (three years ago) link

i started a flann book cuzza ILX once and i never finished it...

i've had this problem with beckett too...

maybe i'm just geared toward more homely fare...

scott seward, Thursday, 7 January 2016 16:21 (three years ago) link

enjoying this! thanks for the irish lit fic quarterly tip! not fiction though. but it reminds me that i do have some edna at home that i haven't read:

http://www.stingingfly.org/sample/woman-transit

scott seward, Thursday, 7 January 2016 16:22 (three years ago) link

edna brings up flann and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_Kavanagh

who i have also never read.

scott seward, Thursday, 7 January 2016 16:25 (three years ago) link

nice picture of george william russell. the original hipster.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/24/George_William_Russell_-_Project_Gutenberg_eText_19028.jpg

scott seward, Thursday, 7 January 2016 16:26 (three years ago) link

This might be good:

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/nov/18/pond-claire-louise-bennett-review

xyzzzz__, Thursday, 7 January 2016 16:39 (three years ago) link

Mentioned this in Flann O'Brien thread:

http://yalebooks.com/book.asp?isbn=9780300198492

Inter library loan still to come in for me.

xyzzzz__, Thursday, 7 January 2016 16:48 (three years ago) link

yeah i loved that edna piece!

it has some great non-fiction too, kinda goes to the same places as the fiction.

xpost i've only read kavanagh poetry/drama - studied him at school.

japanese mage (LocalGarda), Thursday, 7 January 2016 16:48 (three years ago) link

Colm Toibin is one of my two or three favorite working novelists.

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 7 January 2016 17:04 (three years ago) link

Ralph Cusack's Cadenza currently sitting on my nighttable waiting to be read.

Green Dolphin Street Hassle (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 7 January 2016 17:09 (three years ago) link

one year passes...

Just reading rising sun now. It's very beautiful and certainly i recognise all of it, perhaps a little set in its ways though.

I've the option of Banville or another mcgahern next, self limited whimsy. What do i go with.

virginity simple (darraghmac), Saturday, 22 April 2017 02:55 (two years ago) link

I wouldn't start from here. :D

the pinefox, Saturday, 22 April 2017 09:02 (two years ago) link

... I think I mean: don't read Banville next whatever you do. I can't stand him.

McGahern always OK. How about his MEMOIR indeed?

the pinefox, Saturday, 22 April 2017 09:03 (two years ago) link

Banvillr has a lovely turn of phrase but he is rather fixated on the interior life of the melancholically single middle aged man. Unadventurous demographic notwithstanding, The Sea is one of the better latter day booker winners that I've read.

ledge, Saturday, 22 April 2017 09:17 (two years ago) link

I wouldn't start from here. :D

― the pinefox, Saturday, 22 April 2017 09:02 (fifty-five minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

I could start from beyant i suppose

virginity simple (darraghmac), Saturday, 22 April 2017 09:58 (two years ago) link

Yeah Banville's writing is turgid with the exception of "The Book of Evidence" which has a lean crime fiction feel to it rather than his more acclaimed stuff

Well bissogled trotters (Michael B), Saturday, 22 April 2017 15:36 (two years ago) link

Ralph Cusack's /Cadenza/ currently sitting on my nighttable waiting to be read.

Read this

briscall stool chart (wins), Saturday, 22 April 2017 17:05 (two years ago) link

Really enjoyed The Horse's Mouth recently----almost the only one I've ever read from the POV of a painter. though also want to re-read Berger's A Painter of Our Time, which was so long ago I don't really remember---also the rest of Cary's trilogy, from the POV of other amazing characters in THM. Any others of his I should read?

dow, Saturday, 22 April 2017 23:06 (two years ago) link

Elizabeth Bowen more often writes about English than Irish, at least in The Collected Stories---haven't read her novels---but she's a trip, and something of an outside-to-inside agitator (observation and invention-wise).

dow, Saturday, 22 April 2017 23:10 (two years ago) link

JG Farrell - Troubles (one of the best novels about Anglo-Irish relations by a not quite Englishman/not quite Irishman)

Number None, Saturday, 22 April 2017 23:34 (two years ago) link

darraghmac have you read Kevin Barry?

I heard him read and briefly met him last year. Maybe his fiction could be up your lane.

the pinefox, Sunday, 23 April 2017 00:27 (two years ago) link

_Ralph Cusack's /Cadenza/ currently sitting on my nighttable waiting to be read._

Read this


Is that an imperative, as in
Read this!
Or a past tense with an implied subject, as in
(I) Read this
?

Stupefyin' Pwns (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 23 April 2017 02:17 (two years ago) link

The latter, I assume

Stupefyin' Pwns (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 23 April 2017 03:16 (two years ago) link

Allow me to second the years-old endorsements of Flann O'Brien (The Third Policeman) and Colm Toibin (Brooklyn).

In the latter case, forget all about the movie, even if you've seen it.

some sad trombone Twilight Zone shit (cryptosicko), Sunday, 23 April 2017 03:44 (two years ago) link

I don't remember a movie of BROOKLYN!

I should catch up with that.

the pinefox, Sunday, 23 April 2017 07:41 (two years ago) link

I've devoured Kevin Barry's shorts stories and enjoyed that novel about a post apocalyptic Limerick far more than the reviews. Well diagnosed!

virginity simple (darraghmac), Sunday, 23 April 2017 07:52 (two years ago) link

He's grand. As I said elsewhere, I even enjoyed his Lennon book, and I can't stand Lennon.

Mince Pramthwart (James Morrison), Sunday, 23 April 2017 09:40 (two years ago) link

I did not enjoy the Lennon book at all

Number None, Sunday, 23 April 2017 10:01 (two years ago) link

i love kevin barry but a book about lennon doesn't appeal to me. his short story image of a food-addict garda eating an entire swiss roll in his squad car has stayed with me, not due to total affinity but nonetheless.

it's prob been said but modern irish short fiction is in a v good place, kevin barry, colin barrett, stinging fly journal in general, claire keegan, danielle mclaughlin. there are many more.

mike mccarthy's solar bones is an absolutely brilliant novel, from last year. i know i've raved about it on facebook so it won't be news to some ilxors.

Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Sunday, 23 April 2017 10:08 (two years ago) link

the indelible Barry moment for me is when the amnesiac guy wakes up on a bus and finds out he's bought a chipper

I'm a bit intimidated by the McCarthy book I have to admit

Number None, Sunday, 23 April 2017 10:11 (two years ago) link

i actually found it a page-turner. i couldn't leave it alone. ymmv but that was my experience of it and i gave it to a friend who said the same.

Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Sunday, 23 April 2017 10:13 (two years ago) link

he has a 90s compilation of short stories that are entirely original and weird too, called "getting it in the head". he writes about tools and industry and engineering, that kind of thing, in a way i've never seen done by others.

Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Sunday, 23 April 2017 10:14 (two years ago) link

You mean Mike McCormarck?

I loved Claire-Louise Bennett's Pond and v interested to read Eimear McBride - has anyone here engaged with her work?

xyzzzz__, Sunday, 23 April 2017 12:27 (two years ago) link

Anne Enright's "The Gathering" is excellent. I second the Keegan and McCormack recs. Anyone read McCormack's sci-to novel "notes from a coma"? It sounds intriguing

Well bissogled trotters (Michael B), Sunday, 23 April 2017 14:27 (two years ago) link

Sci-fi

Well bissogled trotters (Michael B), Sunday, 23 April 2017 14:27 (two years ago) link

I've only read The Lesser Bohemians among McBride's texts, but I found her prose vivid and rigorous in its attention to sensory experience.

one way street, Sunday, 23 April 2017 15:40 (two years ago) link

Thanks - I'll check it out.

xyzzzz__, Sunday, 23 April 2017 19:32 (two years ago) link

I read " A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing" last year and thought it good (without being bowled over) - it's in the experimental tradition of your BS Johnsons / Ann Quins but I thought it a weakish version of those. Worth a go though, and there are people with far finer tastes than mine who'll rep for it v hard.

Tim, Monday, 24 April 2017 12:56 (two years ago) link

I think Tim's about right except that I admire the book slightly more than he does. I might not call it fun but I think the writing is intense and distinctive, even if sometimes it's doing something fairly obvious (interior monologue of a fractured self, say).

(- but then I think if you try to describe precisely what it's doing, it's not that obvious, as eg what voice are we really listening to? Not what she says to herself in the moment, not like what Joyce affects to be doing in much of Ulysses, but a more stylized narration of life that doesn't exactly belong anywhere discursively.)

I don't know Quin and don't know BSJ hugely - the other thing is that the lilt, rhythm etc can feel very close to Joyce, including FW, and some other Irish writers. It took me a while to see the Beckett affinity that I think Adam Mars-Jones originally posited.

Haven't read the second book, have heard it is worse.

the pinefox, Monday, 24 April 2017 13:48 (two years ago) link

It seems there are also people with far finer tastes than mine who will rep for it moderately.

Tim, Monday, 24 April 2017 14:01 (two years ago) link

I did indeed mean Mike McCormack upthread - somehow I confused him with a journeyman rugby player.

Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Monday, 24 April 2017 14:41 (two years ago) link

I've been meaning to check out mcbride since I saw her talk/read here a few years ago (part of a IS MODERNISM DEAD panel iirc) - seemed interesting, and she did a pretty good job reading a passage from finnegans wake too

many xps to blechh: both - I was saying that I'd read it and recommending it to darragh/thread

briscall stool chart (wins), Monday, 24 April 2017 15:13 (two years ago) link

two years pass...

what edna o'brien should I read

prorogue mahone (||||||||), Thursday, 12 September 2019 19:28 (one month ago) link

Country Girls trilogy is key, and any short story collection. Bonus points if you can get a hold of any of the gratuitously nippley 1970s Penguin paperbacks.

Tsar Bombadil (James Morrison), Friday, 13 September 2019 01:07 (one month ago) link


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