You are probably familiar with Frank McCourt and Colm Tóibín, but Ireland is home to many more incredible writers for you to discover. You might even forgo your St. Patrick’s Day plans of celebrating at the local pub in favor of curling up with these 11 books as rich as the land they came from.
Set in Ireland in the early 1990s, this is the story of Helen, her mother, and her grandmother, who have come together after a decade of estrangement to tend to Helen’s beloved brother, Declan, who is dying of AIDS. Along with Declan’s two friends, the six of them, from different generations and with different beliefs, are forced to navigate the shoals of their own histories and come to terms with each other. Shortlisted for the 2000 Man Booker Prize and written in spare, luminous prose, The Blackwater Lightship explores the nature of love and the complex emotions of a family at war with itself.
On Erin’s wish list
Emma Donoghue is one of my favorite authors, so it’s taken every bit of my self-restraint to wait for the holidays to get a copy of her new book. In THE WONDER, a nurse is called to a small Irish village to observe the “miracle” of a girl said to have survived without food for months. Donoghue has already proved to be a skilled and remarkable writer in ROOM, FROG MUSIC, and SLAMMERKIN, giving me confidence that her newest novel will be another amazing read.
Spanning four decades and divergent worlds, this is the erotically charged story of the renowned Russian dancer Rudolf Nureyev. This historically inspired novel charts the extreme perfectionism and willful hedonism that drove the ballet star’s all-consuming artistic greatness, and reminds us that the thrill of the stage is both a curse and a redemption.
Frenzied and unforgiving, this gorgeous, dark, difficult book is worth sinking into (and you will need to let yourself sink in). Just like with Ferrante’s work, I found myself not breathing for long passages at a time. Maybe not great for your physical health, but unbeatable mentally.
Read the full review of A GIRL IS A HALF-FORMED THING here.
When Skippy, a fourteen-year-old boy at Dublin’s esteemed Seabrook College, ends up dead on the floor of a local doughnut shop, one pressing question remains: Why? This heartfelt and hilarious novel explores the pain, joy, and occasional beauty of adolescence, all while investigating the mystery of Skippy’s demise.