Author Picks: 8 Novels That Prove the Irish Are Genius Storytellers

Share Author Picks: 8 Novels That Prove the Irish Are Genius Storytellers

Rebecca Hardiman is a former magazine editor who lives in New Jersey with her husband and three children. Good Eggs is her first novel.

If I were to ask my mother, who’s from Dublin, what she cooked for dinner last night, chances are she wouldn’t just say pasta or salmon. “Well,” she might begin, “I’d just started chopping the onions when the doorbell rang. I’d asked John to pop over and take a look at my printer but he brought along that big horrible dog of his. Would you believe by the time John had the thing fixed, that smelly mutt had gnawed a hole the size of Ohio into my couch cushion?” I may never get an answer to my question, or if I did, it would likely be via a circuitous route. But who cared? I’d get a story. For a country the size of Indiana, Ireland has historically, famously, yielded a disproportionate body of storytelling. Luckily for the rest of us, that inclination toward a good yarn applies broadly to the national literary output, no matter the genre. Here’s an eclectic mix of Irish novels—thrilling, witty, gripping, hilarious, sad, creepy, poignant—that prove masterful writing is just in the blood.

A Keeper
by Graham Norton

Divorced mom Elizabeth Keane returns to her childhood home in Ireland following her mother’s death, keen to neatly wrap up the loose ends and jet back home to New York. Instead, she happens upon a trove of letters and begins uncovering family secrets, past and present, in this charming gem of a domestic mystery. Norton deftly ratchets up the tension as the story unfolds, adding plenty of twists to this engrossing page-turner.

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo Bookshop logo Libro.fm logo
A Keeper
Graham Norton

From Graham Norton—the BAFTA Award–winning Irish television host and author of the “charming debut novel” (New York Journal of Books) Holding—a masterly and haunting tale of secrets and ill-fated love follows a young woman as she returns to Ireland after her mother’s death and unravels the identity of her father.

When Elizabeth Keane returns to Ireland after her mother’s death, she’s focused only on saying goodbye to that dark and dismal part of her life. Her childhood home is packed solid with useless junk, her mother’s presence already fading. But within this mess, she discovers a small stash of letters—and ultimately, the truth.

Forty years earlier, a young woman stumbles from a remote stone house, the night quiet except for the constant wind that encircles her as she hurries deeper into the darkness away from the cliffs and the sea. She has no sense of where she is going, only that she must keep on.

With wistful and evocative prose, A Keeper is sure to appeal to “fans of sensitive character studies” (Publishers Weekly) and brilliantly illustrates Graham Norton’s clear-eyed understanding of human nature and its darkest flaws.

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo Bookshop logo Libro.fm logo

MENTIONED IN:

New in Paperback: 11 Rejuvenating April Reads to Inspire You

By Alice Martin | April 12, 2021

5 Books with Unique Narratives That Play with Format

By Anne Jaconette | April 9, 2021

Our Library Hold Lists: 6 Books We Need Now, Please!

By Off the Shelf Staff | April 8, 2021

8 Audie Award Winners and Finalists for the Avid Audiobook Listener

By Kelly Dasta | April 7, 2021

April eBook Deals: 10 Absorbing Reads Perfect for Spring

By Off the Shelf Staff | April 6, 2021

Librarian Picks: 7 Page-Turning Reads I Highly Recommend

By Carol Ann Tack | April 5, 2021

Close
Normal People
by Sally Rooney

Marianne is brilliant, wealthy, and isolated; Connell, whose mother cleans Marianne’s house, is an exceptional student and a gifted, popular athlete. This is a story of first love—fraught, yearning, complicated. In language pared down to the bone, Sally Rooney’s NORMAL PEOPLE follows the ebbs and flows of the lovers as they meet up at Trinity College in Dublin and as the dynamics between them—economic, sexual, emotional—shift and shift again.

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo
Normal People
Sally Rooney

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo

MENTIONED IN:

Author Picks: 8 Novels That Prove the Irish Are Genius Storytellers

By Rebecca Hardiman | March 17, 2021

20 Amazing Authors and Their Books To Read in 2020

By Carrie Cabral | January 9, 2020

Close
Circle of Friends
by Maeve Binchy

The ultimate cozy comfort read, CIRCLE OF FRIENDS stars small-town besties Benny and Eve, who dream of ditching conservative, rural 1950s Ireland for Dublin City. Once they arrive, their circle of friends widens to include the charming Jack Foley and beautiful, icy Nan, among others, in a great gossipy story told with heart and keen insight about the nature of friendship.

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo Bookshop logo Libro.fm logo
Circle of Friends
Maeve Binchy

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo Bookshop logo Libro.fm logo

MENTIONED IN:

New in Paperback: 11 Rejuvenating April Reads to Inspire You

By Alice Martin | April 12, 2021

5 Books with Unique Narratives That Play with Format

By Anne Jaconette | April 9, 2021

Our Library Hold Lists: 6 Books We Need Now, Please!

By Off the Shelf Staff | April 8, 2021

8 Audie Award Winners and Finalists for the Avid Audiobook Listener

By Kelly Dasta | April 7, 2021

April eBook Deals: 10 Absorbing Reads Perfect for Spring

By Off the Shelf Staff | April 6, 2021

Librarian Picks: 7 Page-Turning Reads I Highly Recommend

By Carol Ann Tack | April 5, 2021

Close
In the Woods
by Tana French

It’s no mean feat trying to choose the most gripping Tana French novel, but her first, IN THE WOODS, part of the Dublin Murder Squad series, still packs a massive and ominous punch. When the body of a little girl is found in a forest, the detective who must solve it has his own mystery to unravel; twenty-two years prior, he himself stumbled, dazed and bleeding, from those very same woods, though his two pals, who went missing that day, weren’t so lucky.

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo Bookshop logo Libro.fm logo
In the Woods
Tana French

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo Bookshop logo Libro.fm logo

MENTIONED IN:

New in Paperback: 11 Rejuvenating April Reads to Inspire You

By Alice Martin | April 12, 2021

5 Books with Unique Narratives That Play with Format

By Anne Jaconette | April 9, 2021

Our Library Hold Lists: 6 Books We Need Now, Please!

By Off the Shelf Staff | April 8, 2021

8 Audie Award Winners and Finalists for the Avid Audiobook Listener

By Kelly Dasta | April 7, 2021

April eBook Deals: 10 Absorbing Reads Perfect for Spring

By Off the Shelf Staff | April 6, 2021

Librarian Picks: 7 Page-Turning Reads I Highly Recommend

By Carol Ann Tack | April 5, 2021

Close
The Barrytown Trilogy
by Roddy Doyle

Reading Roddy Doyle’s Barrytown Trilogy, composed of his first three novels—THE COMMITMENTS, THE SNAPPER, and THE VAN—you may as well be sitting, eavesdropping, in a pub on Dublin’s Northside. Set in the fictional working-class enclave of Barrytown and crackling with witty dialogue at breakneck speed, this series stars the well-meaning and funny patriarch Jimmy Rabbitte and his family and friends as they set about on all sorts of larks, from Junior starting a blues band to the unemployed Jimmy opening a chippie van with his sidekick Bimbo.

Amazon logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Indiebound logo Bookshop logo
The Barrytown Trilogy
Roddy Doyle

Amazon logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Indiebound logo Bookshop logo

MENTIONED IN:

New in Paperback: 11 Rejuvenating April Reads to Inspire You

By Alice Martin | April 12, 2021

5 Books with Unique Narratives That Play with Format

By Anne Jaconette | April 9, 2021

Our Library Hold Lists: 6 Books We Need Now, Please!

By Off the Shelf Staff | April 8, 2021

8 Audie Award Winners and Finalists for the Avid Audiobook Listener

By Kelly Dasta | April 7, 2021

April eBook Deals: 10 Absorbing Reads Perfect for Spring

By Off the Shelf Staff | April 6, 2021

Librarian Picks: 7 Page-Turning Reads I Highly Recommend

By Carol Ann Tack | April 5, 2021

Close
Let the Great World Spin
by Colum McCann

McCann’s haunting tour de force, a sweeping, sprawling, ambitious, heartbreaking story, begins in 1974 New York City, when tightrope walker Philip Petit first steps onto a wire between the Twin Towers. Far below him, meanwhile, the lives of a handful of fragmented city dwellers intersect and collide in devastating fashion—a prostitute and her daughter, a judge, a grieving upper-class mother, a nurse, and, most central, two brothers from Ireland.

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo
Let the Great World Spin
Colum McCann

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo

MENTIONED IN:

New in Paperback: 11 Rejuvenating April Reads to Inspire You

By Alice Martin | April 12, 2021

5 Books with Unique Narratives That Play with Format

By Anne Jaconette | April 9, 2021

Our Library Hold Lists: 6 Books We Need Now, Please!

By Off the Shelf Staff | April 8, 2021

8 Audie Award Winners and Finalists for the Avid Audiobook Listener

By Kelly Dasta | April 7, 2021

April eBook Deals: 10 Absorbing Reads Perfect for Spring

By Off the Shelf Staff | April 6, 2021

Librarian Picks: 7 Page-Turning Reads I Highly Recommend

By Carol Ann Tack | April 5, 2021

Close
Himself
by Jess Kidd

Set in a village described as “the arse-end of beyond,” HIMSELF is a bold and magical mystery, a wildly imaginative supernatural crime fiction debut—and darkly funny to boot. Our orphaned hero, Mahony, returns to the village of Mulderrig in the south of Ireland to discover what really happened to his dead mother there decades earlier, but the cast of eccentric villagers (and its garrulous ghosts) have their own agenda.

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo Bookshop logo
Himself
Jess Kidd

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo Bookshop logo

MENTIONED IN:

Librarian Picks: 7 Page-Turning Reads I Highly Recommend

By Carol Ann Tack | April 5, 2021

Author Picks: 8 Novels That Prove the Irish Are Genius Storytellers

By Rebecca Hardiman | March 17, 2021

7 Paperback Books So Stunning You’ll Be Glad You Judged It By The Cover

By Off the Shelf Staff | July 30, 2020

A Literary Feast: 8 Authors We’d Invite to Dinner

By Off the Shelf Staff | March 27, 2020

Readers’ Choice: The Top 10 Most Popular Books in February

By Off the Shelf Staff | February 28, 2020

10 Uplifting Reads to Get You Through the Depths of Winter

By Keturah Jenkins | February 5, 2020

Close
Milkman
by Anna Burns

“The day Somebody McSomebody put a gun to my breast and called me a cat and threatened to shoot me was the same day the milkman died.” This is the first outrageous, brilliant, disturbing sentence in an unforgettable book teeming with them. Our young nameless narrator, stalked by the milkman, who is not, in fact, a milkman but a dangerous dissident, must navigate a taut, perilous life in the fraught world of 1970s warring Belfast. (This one’s something of a cheat since Burns is from Northern Ireland, but it’s too good to leave out.)

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo Bookshop logo Libro.fm logo
Milkman
Anna Burns

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo Bookshop logo Libro.fm logo

MENTIONED IN:

Author Picks: 8 Novels That Prove the Irish Are Genius Storytellers

By Rebecca Hardiman | March 17, 2021

Close
Good Eggs
by Rebecca Hardiman

Rebecca Hardiman's debut novel GOOD EGGS is out now!

When Kevin Gogarty’s irrepressible eighty-three-year-old mother, Millie, is caught shoplifting yet again, he has no choice but to hire a caretaker to keep an eye on her. Kevin, recently unemployed, is already at his wits’ end tending to a full house while his wife travels to exotic locales for work, leaving him solo with his sulky, misbehaved teenaged daughter, Aideen, whose troubles escalate when she befriends the campus rebel at her new boarding school.

Into the Gogarty fray steps Sylvia, Millie’s upbeat home aide, who appears at first to be their saving grace—until she catapults the Gogarty clan into their greatest crisis yet.

With charm, humor, and pathos to spare, GOOD EGGS is a delightful study in self-determination; the notion that it’s never too late to start living; and the unique redemption that family, despite its maddening flaws, can offer.

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo iTunes logo Indiebound logo Kobo logo Kindle logo Bookshop logo Libro.fm logo
Good Eggs
Rebecca Hardiman

“A joyous, exuberantly fun-filled novel of second chances. An absolute delight from start to finish!” —Sarah Haywood, New York Times bestselling author

“Bracing, hilarious, warm, this novel is as wayward and mad as the human heart.” Judy Blundell, New York Times bestselling author

A hilarious and heartfelt debut novel following three generations of a boisterous family whose simmering tensions boil over when a home aide enters the picture, becoming the calamitous force that will either undo or remake this family—perfect for fans of Where’d You Go, Bernadette and Evvie Drake Starts Over.

When Kevin Gogarty’s irrepressible eighty-three-year-old mother, Millie, is caught shoplifting yet again, he has no choice but to hire a caretaker to keep an eye on her. Kevin, recently unemployed, is already at his wits’ end tending to a full house while his wife travels to exotic locales for work, leaving him solo with his sulky, misbehaved teenaged daughter, Aideen, whose troubles escalate when she befriends the campus rebel at her new boarding school.

Into the Gogarty fray steps Sylvia, Millie’s upbeat home aide, who appears at first to be their saving grace—until she catapults the Gogarty clan into their greatest crisis yet.

With charm, humor, and pathos to spare, Good Eggs is a delightful study in self-determination; the notion that it’s never too late to start living; and the unique redemption that family, despite its maddening flaws, can offer.

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo iTunes logo Indiebound logo Kobo logo Kindle logo Bookshop logo Libro.fm logo

MENTIONED IN:

The 10 Most Popular Books We Couldn’t Put Down This March

By Off the Shelf Staff | March 31, 2021

Author Picks: 8 Novels That Prove the Irish Are Genius Storytellers

By Rebecca Hardiman | March 17, 2021

Our 16 Most Anticipated New Reads of March

By Off the Shelf Staff | February 24, 2021

10 Heartwarming Reads That’ll Melt the Winter Cold Away

By Sara Roncero-Menendez | February 22, 2021

Readers’ Choice: Your Favorite Reads of 2020 (and What to Read Next)

By Off the Shelf Staff | January 19, 2021

Close

You must be logged in to add books to your shelf.

Please log in or sign up now.