As an author from Ireland, I, of course, have my top-5 list of Irish books.
I enjoy discussing books and all things literary. I would love to hear your thoughts about any or all of these books. Please also share this list, and feel free to include your own recommendations!
By James Joyce
Commonly thought of as the finest Irish book ever written. Not an easy read, but no list of Irish books is complete without its inclusion. It has also given rise to a slew of Irish bars worldwide, with such names as; “The James Joyce” and “Tim Finnegan’s.”
By Leon Uris
A book about Ireland, written by an American. It was one of the first novels about the Troubles, which I read during the 70’s. Some call it dated, but as a young teenager living alongside the Donegal/Derry border, I found it to be familiar and powerful.
3. Angela’s Ashes
By Frank McCourt
One of the most well known and read Irish books of the past 30 years. McCourt’s book was so successful in fact, that he has been attributed with creating the modern day genre; “Mis. Lit.” Ironically, the author faced the strongest criticism back home in Limerick, where the locals felt humiliated that the world would now see the level of poverty which existed.
By Colm Tobin
Tobin is a master storyteller. Even for those of us who grew up many decades after the era in which the story is set, we are familiar with the local shop being the business center of a street or village. This story of Irish emigration (continuing to be resuscitated by times of economic strife), is still alive in the 21st century. Brooklyn was recently made into a feature length film and drew great acclaim and nominations.
5. Are You Somebody?
By Nuala O’Faolain
“I’m not anybody in terms of the world, but then, who decides what a somebody is? How is a somebody made?” asks Irish Times columnist O’Faolain. The answer can be found in her moving and painfully honest memoir. When Nuala O’Faolain bared her soul to the Irish public, it not only drew back the curtains on Irish sexuality, it blew them off in a “Wizzard of Oz”, tornado style. One can deeply sense the author’s vulnerability at the turn of every page of her “no holds barred” life’s story.