In honor of St. Patty’s day (and to hoping you don’t kill all your brain cells tonight), here’s a tasting of some recommended Irish literature.
John Banville, The Infinities
The Infinities is a playful yet reflective novel with an unusual cast of mortals and Gods (and those mortals who dubiously believe they are Gods). Told in turns by the dis-functional family of an unconscious physicist and the Greek god Hermes, all of whom keep vigil at the dying’s bedside, The Infinities is Man Booker Prize-winning author John Banville’s latest novel. For those in the dark, Banville also writes mystery novels set in Ireland under the pen name Benjamin Black.
Listen to an interview with John Banville here.
Wes Davis (editor), An Anthology of Modern Irish Poetry
Maybe you love the Irish. Maybe you love poetry. An Anthology of Modern Irish Poetry contains work by more than fifty contemporary poets who have called Ireland home, including Samuel Beckett, Seamus Heaney, Eavan Boland (a personal favorite), and David Wheatley. The heft alone will convince fellow commuters that you mean business, at least where your poetry is concerned.
William Trevor, Cheating at Canasta
Generally considered a master of the short story, William Trevor’s 2007 story collection Cheating at Canasta pits a range of characters against the slow and often uneventful march of everyday life. A review in Publisher’s Weekly says “the book as a whole recalls Joyce’s Dubliners in making melancholia a powerful narrative device.” More recently, Trevor published the slim novel, Love and Summer.
Edna O’Brien, The Country Girls Trilogy
O’Brien’s novel tryptic follows the lives of two friends, Kate and Baba. Raised in a strict Roman Catholic upbringing in the Irish countryside, they move to London, where they find love, sex, and marital disillusionment over the course of the three novels. The books were originally banned in Ireland for the frank treatment of women’s sexuality.
Bram Stoker, Dracula
The vampire novel that started it all, Bram Stoker’s Victorian masterpiece swept vampire legend and mythology with a raciness that has inspired everyone from Anne Rice to Stephanie Meyers.