Great Irish books for the greatest Irish holiday — St. Paddy’s Day! March 17 2010
Are you looking for a great read this St. Patrick’s Day? Celebrate the land of Guinness and the potato with two fantastic Irish-themed books. And really, what could go better with a plate of corned beef and hash than a good book?
MARK ANTHONY JARMAN
On August 22, 1922, near Macroom, County Cork, a single bullet from an unknown gunman killed Michael Collins, the Commander-in-Chief of the Irish Free State Army. The day Collins was buried, businesses across Dublin shut down as thousands lined the streets to pay their respects. And on that day, Michael Lyons, a cooper from the Guinness factory taking advantage of the day off, drowned quietly in Dublin’s Royal Canal.
In Ireland’s Eye, Mark Anthony Jarman uses this confluence — a famous death and an obscure death — as the starting point for a meditation on the intertwined history of a nation and his family. Jarman’s pursuit of the circumstances of his grandfather’s drowning leads him on a raucous and hilarious journey through a modern Ireland that teems with ghosts from the past.
Thwarted by family gossip, aunts who can’t drive shift, cousins more interested in pubs than lore, and his own fascination with the many Irelands that have been, Jarman finds what he’s seeking despite, or perhaps because of, the antics and the unreliable histories. What he reconfigures is a revelation, and an enchanting and engrossing read.
Gorgeously written, Homeric in scope, haunting in its depiction of a young man’s perilous journey from innocence to experience: The Law of Dreams is an extraordinary debut novel by an accomplished writer and screenwriter.
The story follows Fergus O’Brien from Ireland to Liverpool and Wales during the Great Potato Famine of 1847, and then beyond — to a harrowing Atlantic crossing to Montreal. On the way, Fergus loses his family, discovers a teeming world beyond the hill farm where he was born, and experiences three great loves.
Behrens’s incandescent language illuminates a lost world and a searing experience that continues to haunt the ancestral memory of millions.
Need more Irish authors in your life?
Here are a few recommendations (you’ll want to read these if you ever plan to make conversation with a leprechaun):
What are some of your favourite Irish books?
HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY from all of us here at House of Anansi/Groundwood Books!