By Susan Larson
It’s March, which means St. Patrick’s Day, which led me to think about Irish authors.
The classic writers James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Swift, W. B. Yeats, C.S. Lewis and Bram Stoker first came to mind. Then I realized I knew little about contemporary Irish authors. So I did some research and compiled the following overview. This is not a comprehensive list of authors or of the listed authors’ works. It’s an introduction to a few of the Irish authors who are part of our collection at Milton Public Library.
Patrick Taylor. “An Irish Country Doctor” (2007) is the first book in a series that follows physician Barry Laverty, his work with Dr. Fingal Flaherty O’Reilly, and their medical practice in rural Northern Ireland. Taylor, himself an M.D., grew up and practiced medicine there, until immigrating to Canada in 1970. “An Irish County Cottage,” No. 13 in the series, is scheduled for publication in October 2018.
Maeve Binchy. Binchy was working on her 17th novel, “A Week in Winter,” when she died in 2012. It was published posthumously. Two of her novels – “Circle of Friends” (1990) and “Tara Road” (1998) – were adapted into films. Two collections of short stories, “Chestnut Street” (2014) and “A Few of the Girls” (2015), were released after her death. Born in Dalkey, Ireland, Binchy’s books are known for their portrayal of small-town life in that country.
Emma Donoghue. Dublin-born Donoghue, who moved to Ontario, Canada in 1998, writes historical novels, short story collections and children’s books. Her 10 adult novels include “Room” (2010), the story about a mother and son held captive in a small room for seven years. The 2015 film adaptation was nominated for four academy awards. “Frog Music” (2014) is about Blanche Beunon, a French burlesque dancer, who risks everything to bring her friend Jenny Bonnet’s murderer to justice. Donoghue’s latest book is “The Wonder” (2016), about a nurse brought to a small Irish village in the 1850s to observe a so-called miracle girl, said to have survived without food for months.
John Banville. The Wexford, Ireland, native is the author of 13 novels. “The Sea” (2006) introduces us to Max Morden, “a middle-aged Irishman who has gone back to the seaside town where he spent his summer holidays as a child to cope with the recent loss of his wife.” “Time Pieces: A Dublin Memoir” (2016) alternates between vignettes of Banville’s own past and present-day historical explorations of Dublin. “Mrs. Osmond: A novel” (2017) is an historical novel about a “spirited, intelligent young heiress, who flees to London after being betrayed by her husband.”
Tana French. French’s 2007 psychological thriller “In the Woods” won four awards for Best First Novel. It’s the first book in her Dublin Murder Squad Series: “The Likeness” (2008), “Faithful Place” (2010), “Broken Harbour” (2012), “The Secret Place” (2014) and “The Tresspasser” (2017). French was born in Burlington and grew up traveling the world because of her dad’s job and made Ireland her home. She was called one of the “queens of Irish crime writing” by The Independent.
John Connolly. “The Woman in the Woods,” the 16th book in Dublin-born John Connolly’s Detective Charlie Parker series, will be released in June 2018. Connolly’s other books include “The Book of Lost Things,” in which 12-year-old David mourns the death of his mother by taking refuge in his imagination.
Colm Tóibín. “Brooklyn,” Tóibín’s 2009 historical novel, is about an Irish girl’s decision to make a new life in America. The book was made into a movie in 2015. “Nora Webster” (2014) tells the story of a young widow and mother of four moving from grief, fear and longing to unexpected discovery. Tóibín was born in Enniscorthy, Ireland.
Colum McCann. Born and raised in Dublin, McCann is the author of six novels and three collections of stories. The historical fiction book “TransAtlantic” (2013), weaves together three historic transatlantic crossings: Frederick Douglas’s 1845 visit to Ireland, the 1919 flight of British aviators Alcock and Brown and former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell’s 1998 attempt to mediate peace in Northern Ireland. “Let the Great World Spin” (2009) tells the stories of several families living in New York City in the 1970s.
When you come to the library, we’d be happy to help you find these books and explore even more works by these and other Irish authors.