Dublin Ireland Expert

My Favorite Irish Authors and Books

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Every year after we read The Adventures of Ulysses together I would show my seventh grade students the section of James Joyces Ulysses where he writes in stream of consciousness and leaves out all punctuation for more than one hundred pages ending with the famous words I said yes I will yes. yes he throws in a period at the very end the kids were always so impressed and even though they didnt understand it at all they agreed that Joyce must have been a genius if he figured out a way to get rid of runon sentences commas and apostrophes and i would always agree of course but I have to say that if I were stuck with a copy of Ulysses on a rainy day in Dublin alone in my apartment Id be rather upset instead give me Edna OBrien Roddy Doyle Maeve Binchy Colm Toibin Liam OFlaherty and Leon Uris yes I know Leon Uris is Jewish American but I dont think he would mind if I made him an honorary Irishman just this once Edna OBrien was born in County Clare in 1930 but left Ireland for London where she still lives one of my all time favorites is her first novel The Country Girls which eventually became The Country Girls trilogy its about two best friends Kate and Baba and their problems with men and society when it was first published in 1960 it was banned burned and denounced because it dealt with Kate and Babas inner feelings and their sexual experiences I think of Kate and Baba as the original version of Carrie Bradshaw and Amanda Hobbs Kate and Babas stories are both tragic and beautiful Roddy Doyle is of course most famous for The Commitments trilogy but my two favorite Roddy Doyle masterpieces are The Woman Who Walked Into Doors and A Star Called Henry The Woman Who Walked Into Doors is about Paula Spencer a woman trapped in an abusive marriage Paula Spencer will stay with you forever and A Star Called Henry is about another haunting character Henry Smart a young man born in the slums of Dublin in 1902 to his teenage mother and his onelegged hit man father this book also became a trilogy but the first one remains my favorite the scenes of Henrys life on the streets make Frank McCourts childhood in Angelas Ashes look like a picnic and a list of favorite Irish writers cannot be complete without Maeve Binchy I wish she were still with us my two favorites are Nights of Rain and Stars about four strangers who meet in a Greek taverna and of course her masterpiece Circle of Friends about Benny Hogan Eve Malone and Jack Foley the movie is almost as good as the book a more recent favorite author is Colm Toibin who now splits his time between New York and Dublin the last time I was in Grogans reading one of his novels the men sitting next to me told me that they went to school with him my two favorites are The Master and Brooklyn The Master is the imagined story of the life of Henry James and whenever a friend asks me for a recommendation I say Brooklyn it tells the story of Eilis Lacey a young woman from the Irish countryside who immigrates to Brooklyn it is one of the best love stories I have ever read and the movie is premiering November 6 and now for the must reads there is Famine by Liam OFlaherty who was born on the Aran Island in 1896 Famine is the story of three generations of the Kilmartin family set in the period of the Great Famine of the 1840s its heroine Mary Kilmartin is one of the great creations of modern literature and my all time favorite is Trinity by Leon Uris it tells the story of Irelands struggle for independence through the eyes of my most favorite protagonist Conor Larkin who is so perfect he could only be a character in a book
wow leaving out all the punctuation was really hard for me.