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My Top 10 Irish Novels.


Here is a list of my favourite books in Irish Literature that I would highly recommend if you are looking for a good read.

 

10. The Dark by John McGahern



When McGahern published this book the priest of his parish read it, walked into the classroom the next day and sacked from his teaching job, and then the Archbishop of Dublin swore that McGahern would never teach in Ireland again. Now if that isn’t a reason to make you want to read it … The Dark, widely acclaimed, yet infamously banned, is McGahern’s sensitive, perceptive, and beautifully written portrayal of a young man’s coming-of-age in rural Ireland.


9. Normal People by Sally Rooney


A modern masterpiece that was made into a great BBC television production that made me read the novel and what a talent Sally Rooney has. The electricity of first love, and the complex entanglements of family and friendship.


8. The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne




The Heart's Invisible Furies is a novel to make you laugh and cry while reminding us all of the redemptive power of the human spirit. A great insight into how much times have changed and how kinder society has become.


7. The Gathering by Anne Enright


A novel about love and disappointment, about how memories warp and secrets fester, and how fate is written in the body, not in the stars. Perhaps one of the great Irish novels.


6. The Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer


A great novel for young adults with a brilliant twist. Twelve-year-old Artemis Fowl is a millionaire, a genius, and above all, a criminal mastermind. Riveting and full of great imagination.


5. Divorcing Jack by Colin Bateman


The book of my teenage years at did the rounds of the grammar school, and which I remember reading late into the night and roaring with laughter. Divorcing Jack is a 1998 satirical black comedy.


4. The Country Girls by Edna O’Brien


Meet Kate and Baba, two young Irish country girls who have spent their childhood together set out on life together. A Brilliant read.


3. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde


Perhaps one of the greatest Irish Novels. For over a century, this mesmerizing tale of horror and suspense has enjoyed wide popularity. It ranks as one of Wilde's most important creations and among the classic achievements of its kind.


2. Light A Penny Candle by Maeve Binchy


Maeve Binchy tells a magnificent story of the lives and loves of two women, bound together in a friendship that nothing could tear asunder not even the love of man.


1. Call My Brother Back by Michael McLaverty

Without a doubt my favourite Irish novel and a contender for my favourite novel of all time. Set in 1921 during the partition and the troubles of Belfast, it is a story about the coming of age of a young boy from the small Irish Island of Rathlin who finds himself sent to school in Belfast during one of the most turbulent periods of Irish History. This is the one book I read every year, in those quiet days after Christmas during an afternoon sat by the fire. This is one book that will do your heart good, and it will make you laugh and cry in equal measure.  

 

And Why is Irish Literature so important?

 

Reading Irish literature offers a multifaceted journey into the rich tapestry of Irish culture, history, and identity. Here are several reasons why people should explore Irish literature:

1. Cultural Insight: Irish literature provides a window into the Irish psyche, offering insights into the country's cultural heritage, values, and traditions. Through its stories, poems, and plays, readers can explore themes such as the struggles for independence, the complexities of identity, and the enduring connection to the land.

2. Historical Perspective: Irish literature often reflects the tumultuous history of Ireland, including periods of colonization, rebellion, and social change. By delving into works from different time periods, readers can gain a deeper understanding of Ireland's past and its impact on the present.

3. Literary Excellence: Ireland has produced some of the world's most celebrated writers, including James Joyce, W.B. Yeats, Samuel Beckett, and Seamus Heaney. By reading their works, readers can appreciate the beauty of Irish prose and poetry and explore the themes and techniques that have made Irish literature so influential on the global stage.

4. Sense of Place: Irish literature is deeply rooted in the landscape and geography of Ireland. From the rugged coastline to the rolling green hills, the Irish landscape serves as both backdrop and character in many works of literature, creating a strong sense of place that resonates with readers.

5. Universal Themes: While Irish literature is steeped in Irish culture, many of its themes are universal and resonate with readers from all backgrounds. Love, loss, family, and the search for identity are just a few of the timeless themes that permeate Irish literature and make it accessible to a wide audience.

6. Diverse Voices: Irish literature encompasses a diverse range of voices, representing different perspectives, experiences, and identities within Irish society. By exploring works by writers from various backgrounds, readers can gain a more nuanced understanding of Irish culture and society.

Overall, reading Irish literature offers a rich and rewarding experience that allows readers to explore the complexities of Ireland's past and present while engaging with timeless themes and literary brilliance.

 

Until Next Time,

Damian.

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