In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, Local Pulse gives four recommendations for books set in Ireland:
Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland
Patrick Radden Keefe
Sean Jean McConville’s abduction was on of the most notorious episodes of the vicious conflict known as The Troubles. Everyone in the neighborhood knew the I.R.A. was responsible. But in a climate of fear and paranoia, no one would speak of it. In 2003, five years after an accord brought uneasy peace to Northern Ireland, a set of human bones was discovered on a beach.
This book gets 4.45 stars on Goodreads and is described as “Harrowing and impressive,” and “best book I’ve read all year.” The author researched this topic for four years before crafting this book.
Patrick Radden Keefe is a staff writer at The New Yorker and the author of The Snakehead and Chatter. His work has also appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Slate, New York, and The New York Review of Books.
In this luminous new novel about love, loss, and the unpredictable power of memory, John Banville 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. It is also a return to the place where he met the Graces, the well-heeled family with whom he experienced the strange suddenness of both love and death for the first time.
Although the Goodreads ratings are a 3.54, it seems most of the ratings are due to a difference of expectations. Many of the high ratings explain that The Sea is a masterpiece and so many of the books rated much higher are simple books written solely for quick entertainment of the masses.
The Heart’s Invisible Furies
Born out of wedlock to a teenage girl cast out from her rural Irish community and adopted by a well-to-do if eccentric Dublin couple via the intervention of a hunchbacked Redemptorist nun, Cyril is adrift in the world, anchored only tenuously by his heartfelt friendship with the infinitely more glamourous and dangerous Julian Woodbead. At the mercy of fortune and coincidence, he will spend a lifetime coming to know himself and where he came from – and over his many years, will struggle to discover an identity, a home, a country, and much more.
This book receives a high 4.5 stars on Goodreads and one reader even claimed to be transformed into different person after reading this book.
A Week in Winter
Stoneybridge is a small town on the west coast of Ireland where all the families know each other. When Chicky Starr decides to take an old, decaying mansion set high on the cliffs overlooking the windswept Atlantic Ocean and turn it into a restful place for a holiday by the sea, everyone thinks she is crazy. Helped by Rigger (a bad boy turned good who is handy around the house) and Orla, her niece, Stone House is finally ready to welcome its first guests. Laugh and cry with this unlikely group as they share their secrets and — maybe — even see some of their dreams come true.
This received a Goodreads rating of 3.85 and was the final novel for author Maeve Binchy, who died in 2012. Most of the reviews comment that it is an easy, light read and the perfect literary goodbye for the accomplished author.