Some Irish reads in observance of St. Patrick’s Day.
Ulysses by James Joyce
The novel chronicles the passage of Leopold Bloom through Dublin during an ordinary day, 16 June 1904. It epitomizes Modernist literature and I seriously have to sit down, re-read, and give it my undivided attention.
The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde
This is the only published novel by Oscar Wilde. The novel tells of a young man named Dorian Gray, the subject of a painting by artist Basil Hallward. Basil is impressed by Dorian’s beauty and becomes infatuated with him, believing his beauty is responsible for a new mode in his art.
Amongst Women by John McGahern
This one has been on my shelf forever. It tells the story of Michael Moran, a bitter, aging Irish Republican Army (IRA) veteran, and his tyranny over his wife and children, who both love and fear him. It is considered McGahern’s masterpiece.
At Swim Two Birds by Flann O’Brien
Flann O’Brien is the pseudonym of Irish author Brian O’Nolan. The book is widely considered to be one of the most sophisticated examples of meta-fiction.
The Book of Evidence by John Banville
My favorite modern Irish author! The book is narrated by Freddie Montgomery, a 38-year-old scientist, who murders a servant girl during an attempt to steal a painting from a neighbor. Freddie is an aimless drifter, and though he is a perceptive observer of himself and his surroundings, he is largely amoral.
Strumpet City by James Plunkett
This is a historical novel by James Plunkett set in Dublin at the time of the Dublin Lock-out. The novel is an epic, tracing the lives of a dozen characters as they are swept up in the tumultuous events that affected Dublin between 1907 and 1914.
The Country Girls by Edna O’Brien
This was the first novel written by Irish author Edna O’Brien. It was released in 1960, and later made into a movie. It tell the story of Kate and Baba who have spent their childhood together. As they leave the safety of their convent school in search of life and love in the big city, they struggle to maintain their somewhat tumultuous relationship.
The Last September by Elizabeth Bowen
I didn’t known she’s Irish until recently! It’s the portrait of a young woman’s coming of age in a brutalized time and place, where the ordinariness of life floats like music over the impending doom of history.