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Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Read Ireland

Read Ireland Book News - Issue 308 ---------------------------------- 1972: A Novel of Ireland’s Unfinished Revolution by Morgan Llywelyn (Hardback; 25.00 Euro / 33.00 USD / 18.00 UK; 365 pages) The Irish Century series is the narrative of the epic struggle of the Irish people for independence through the tumultuous twentieth century. Morgan Llywelyn's magisterial multi-novel chronicle of that story began with 1916, continued in 1921 and 1949 and now continues with 1972. In 1972, Morgan Llywelyn tells the story of Ireland from 1950-1972 as seen through the eyes of young Barry Halloran, son and grandson of Irish revolutionaries. Northern Ireland has become a running sore, poisoning life on both sides of the Irish border. Following family tradition, at eighteen Barry joins the Irish Republican Army to help complete what he sees as 'the unfinished revolution'. But things are no longer as clear cut as they once were. His first experience of violence in Northern Ireland shocks and disturbs him. Yet he has found a sense of family in the Army which is hard to give up. He makes a partial break by becoming a photographer, visually documenting events in the north rather than physically taking part in them. An unhappy early love affair is followed by a tempestuous relationship with Barbara Kavanagh, a professional singer from America. Events lead Barry into a totally different life from the one he expected, yet his allegiance to the ideal of a thirty-two county Irish republic remains undimmed as the problems, and the violence, of Northern Ireland escalate. Then Barry finds himself in the middle of the most horrific event of all: Bloody Sunday in Derry, 1972. ------------------------------------ Barefoot in Mullyneeny: A boy’s Journey Towards Belonging by Bryan Gallagher (Hardback; 20.00 Euro / 26.00 USD / 14.00 UK; 230 pages) Barefoot in Mullyneeny is Bryan Gallagher's evocative tale of a childhood remembered through the people and landscape of Fermanagh, near the beautiful shores of Lough Erne in Ireland. Bryan chronicles a time when all the big boys went to school in bare feet and secretly watched the Saturday night bands and dances in halls lit by Tilley lamps; where it was known to be nothing less than the biblical truth that if you put a horse-hair across the palm of your hand when you were about to be punished at school, the cane would split in two. Gallagher's writing will touch the hearts of those who long for the innocence of childhood and the simplicity of an era long past. Whether relating tales of murderous bicycle chases through the darkened streets of Cavan, of ghosts and fairy forts or the anguish of emigration, this remarkable memoir vividly recreates life in rural Ireland in the 1940s and 50s. For those who thought that life in Ireland was one of the poverty and misery of James Joyce or Frank McCourt, Barefoot in Mullyneeny offers a view of the Ireland of yesteryear that combines the touching, homely nostalgia of Nigel Slater's Toast and Laurie Lee's Cider with Rosie with a humorous optimism that is unmistakably Ireland at its best. ----------------------------------- Utterly Monkey by Nick Laird (Trade Paperback with endflaps; 15.00 Euro / 18.00 USD / 10.00 UK; 345 pages) Danny Williams is a young litigator in a top city law firm. He is talented, home-owning, in the process of becoming single, and thoroughly sick of his demanding job and his boss. Work's only consolations are glimpses of the beautiful trainee Ellen and the neurotic behaviour of his colleague Albert. One average Wednesday night an old schoolfriend Geordie Wilson arrives at the door of his stylish flat. On the run from a loyalist militia, whose funds he has nicked, Geordie brings everything that Danny thought he had left behind and dumps it on his smart London doorstep. Taking place over an intense and gripping five-day period – set in both London and the fictional town of Ballyglass – the novel deals with love and sex, violence and friendship, the estrangements of the modern workplace and the inflated cost of jelly beans in posh hotels. Utterly Monkey is a wonderfully touching, hilarious and ultimately redemptive novel about aspirations, belonging, loyalty and, most importantly, getting the girl. -------------------------------------- A Game with Sharpened Knives by Neil Belton (Trade Paperback; 15.00 Euro / 18.00 USD / 10.00 UK; 325 pages) In 1939, the life of an Austrian physicist was saved by a revolutionary whose own sentence of execution had been commuted almost twenty years earlier. The physicist was Erwin Schrödinger, charismatic winner of the Nobel prize for Physics in 1931, forced to flee when the Nazis entered Austria; the revolutionary was the Irisch Fuhrer, Eamon de Valera. These are the extraordinary facts behind this extraordinary fiction. Murder is in the air, and on the sea beyond the mouth of the river Liffey. German bombs are dropping, accidentally it is reported, on Dublin. In 1941, Ireland is a country not truly at peace, either with Germany, or with its neighbour across the Irish sea, or in fact with itself. Erwin Schrödinger, bohemian intellectual and emotional enigma, is living in cramped exile in the village of Clontarf on the outskirts of Dublin, with his wife, his lover and their child. A Game with Sharpened Knives is the story of a man foundering on his own desires, a man who often finds it easier to say nothing, for no one in the tense and impoverished city of Dublin is quite what they appear. The first language of this country, as Erwin's Irish lover tells him, is silence. From the winner of the Irish Times prize, a first work of fiction, and a truly magnificent novel. ---------------------------------- New in Paperback This Week: -------------------------- From Dun Sion to Croke Park: The Autobiography of Micheal O Muircheartaigh (10.00 Euro / 13.00 USD / 7.00 UK; 260 pages) One day in 1949, Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh took part in a competition at Croke Park for an Irish-language commentator’s job. He was just eighteen and had never seen a hurling match in his life, but he got the job, and the rest is broadcasting history. In From Dún Síon to Croke Park, Micheál tells the story of his life and sporting times in his own words. Whether describing the farm where he grew up, the school where he learned to play Gaelic football, the majestic technique of Christy Ring, or the form of one of his greyhounds, Micheál’s prose shimmers with his legendary wit, grace and precision. ----------------------------------- A Bit on the Side by William Trevor (10.00 Euro / 13.00 USD / 7.00 UK; 244 pages) A Bit on the Side is William Trevor’s first collection of stories since the award-winning The Hill Bachelors was published in 2000. Tender, touching and beautifully humane, the dozen new stories contained here explore the subject of adultery, and tell of secret passions, domestic infidelities, office romances, and the broken and unbroken rules of love. -------------------------------- Dublin by Edward Rutherford (10.00 Euro / 13.00 USD / 7.00 UK; 820 pages) Edward Rutherfurd's great Irish epic reveals the story of the people of Ireland through the focal point of the island's capital city. The epic begins in pre-Christian Ireland during the reign of the fierce and powerful High Kings at Tara, with the tale of two lovers, the princely Conall and the ravishing Deirdre, whose travails echo the ancient Celtic legend of Cuchulainn. From this stirring beginning, Rutherfurd takes the reader on a graphically realised journey through the centuries. Through the interlocking stories of a powerfully-imagined cast of characters - druids and chieftains, monks and smugglers, merchants and mercenaries, noblewomen, rebels and cowards - we see Ireland through the lens of its greatest city. ----------------------------------- Highlights from the Previous Issue: ----------------------------------- Read Ireland Book News - Issue 307 ---------------------------------- Dead Men Talking: Collusion, Cover-up and Murder in Northern Ireland’s Dirty War by Nicholas Davies (Paperback; 10.00 Euro / 15.00 USD / 7.00 UK; 225 pages) Following the revelations of the secret conspiracy between British Military Intelligence and the gunmen of the Ulster Defence Association in Ten-Thirty-Three, Nicholas Davies now dramatically reveals the evidence and facts that the Sir John Stevens Enquiry is still trying to establish regarding links between the security services and loyalist terrorist groups. In Dead Men Talking, Davies exclusively details the covert killing operations planned, organised and carried through by the RUC Special Branch and MI5, as well as by the British Army's covert intelligence organisation, the Force Research Unit. He provides new information on a number of these killings, which were authorised at the highest level of MI5 and the British government. Of great interest will be Davies' revelations regarding the work carried out by the agent codenamed 'Steak Knife' and the secrets he passed to British Intelligence during his 30 years at the epicentre of the Provisional IRA's command. In addition, Davies uncovers the true story of the murder of Belfast solicitor Patrick Finucane and the subsequent murder of UDA gunman William Stobie. Dead Men Talking exposes the massive cover-up operation which began when Brian Nelson, the UDA's chief intelligence officer, was arrested and persuaded with a massive bribe to plead guilty to conspiracy to murder. The sensational facts surrounding Nelson's apparent sudden and unexpected death in the spring of 2003 are also revealed. ----------------------------------- Stand Up and Fight: When Munster Beat the All Blacks by Alan English (Paperback; 13.00 Euro / 17.00 USD / 10.00 UK; 274 pages) When it comes to rugby union, one team has always stood a lock forward taller than the rest. To their opponents of the 1920s they were 'the Invincibles', to generations of British and Irish players they were literally indomitables - to the rest of the world they're simply the All Blacks. So when Graham Mourie's team left New Zealand in 1978 for the northern hemisphere no one believed they could be beaten. And then they lost. Not to the Wales of J P R Williams or to a Barbarians' select XV, but to a ragged provincial team from the south of Ireland: Munster. More than one hundred thousand people claim to have been there when Munster beat the All Blacks 12-0 at Thomond Park, Limerick, even though the ground could hold only 12,000. The New Zealanders would go on to won 17 of their 18 matches on tour, but against Munster they were, in their own words, 'lucky to get nil'. Munster's win remains the best and most unlikely result ever achieved by an Irish rugby team - and arguably by any rugby team in the world. Only a few minutes of grainy footage of the match survive, captured by a single handheld camera, but it has long since passed into legend. Now Alan English tells us the real story of what happened that day in October 1978, through the eyes of those who there and those who made it happen. The day Munster beat the All Blacks is now part of rugby mythology, yet the truth is more compelling than the fiction. ---------------------------------- Gaelic Sports Championship 2005 by Damian Cullen (Paperback; 10.00 Euro / 14.00 USD / 7.00 UK; 250 pages) The GAA All-Ireland championships in hurling and Gaelic football, which run from May to September, constitute the biggest and most popular event in the Irish sporting year. Boasting over a million members, the GAA regularly fills its 80,000-seater showpiece stadium, Croke Park, and commands more public support than any other sport in Ireland. Now, Penguin Ireland presents the only authoritative guide to the championship: a GAA fan's bible containing statistics, fixtures, predictions and more. --------------------------------- Notes from a Coma by Mike McCormack (Trade Paperback; 14.00 Euro / 19.00 USD / 10.50 UK; 200 pages) Rescued from the squalor of a Rumanian orphanage, and adopted by the rural community of west Mayo, the child that is named J. J. O'Malley should have grown up happy. The boy has no gift for it, though, and his new life has a brutal way of giving him plenty to be unhappy about. After a sudden tragedy, J. J. suffers a catastrophic mental breakdown. Unable to live with himself, he volunteers for an improbable government project which has been set up to explore the possibility of using deep coma as a future option within the EU penal system. When his coma goes online the nation turns to watch, and J. J. is quickly elevated to the status of cultural icon. Sex symbol, existential hero, T-shirt philosopher - his public profile now threatens to obscure the man himself behind a swirl of media profiles, online polls, and EEG tracings- Five narrators - his father, neighbour, teacher, public representative, and sweetheart - tell us the true story of his life and try to give some clue as to why he is the way he is now: floating in a maintained coma on a prison ship off the west coast of Ireland. Brilliantly imagined and artfully constructed - merging science fiction with an affectionate portrait of small town Ireland - Notes from a Coma is both the story of a man cursed with guilt and genius and a compassionate examination of how our identities are safeguarded and held in trust by those who love us. (Also available in Hardback, priced at 25 Euro) ----------------------------------- Endurance: Heroic Journeys in Ireland by Dermot Somers (Paperback; 18.00 Euro / 25.00 USD / 12.00 UK) Kidnap, jailbreak, power, faith, murder, betrayal, scholarship, survival and above all, sheer endurance -- all are themes in Dermot Somers' stories of heroic and historic travels from the mythic legends of prehistory to the dawn of modern Ireland. With the aid of maps and photographs, Dermot Somers -- mountaineer, Gaelic scholar, TV presenter, and writer -- follows in the footsteps of these epic journeys, revealing the people, the cultures, the times, the places and the echoes surviving in our landscape -- from Art O'Neill's icy grave in the Wicklow mountains to the ringfort-hiding place of the brown bull in the secret valley of the Cooley Mountains --------------------------------- Dublinia: The Story of Medieval Dublin by Howard Clarke et. al (Trade Paperback; 13.00 Euro / 16.50 USD / 130 pages, with full colour illustrations throughout) Dublinia is the story of a unique period in Irish history told with passion, imagination and accuracy. This book leads the reader through the noise and bustle of the medieval streets of Dublin looking at all aspects of life, from religion to trade, from crafts to government and from buildings to lifestyles. Based on the hugely successful exhibition on medieval Dublin -- Dublinia -- this book is both a stand alone accessible and authoritative introduction to life in the medieval city, and also a souvenir to one of Dublin's most exciting historical experiences. Whether you are an armchair enthusiast for all things historic, a Dubliner looking for your city to surprise you, or a visitor to the city, Dublinia. The story of Medieval Dublin will fascinate and intrigue you. ---------------------------------- Illauhloughan Island: An Early Medieval Monastery in County Kerry by Jenny White Marshall and Claire Walsh (Hardback; 40.00 Euro / 47.00 USD / 31.00 UK; 250 pages, with full colour and black-and-white illustrations throughout) Illaunloughan was a small monastery on the Atlantic edge of Ireland that lasted from the late seventh to the ninth century. The well-dated material evidence provides a chronological base for activities and customs that were previously of uncertain age in Ireland; it also revealed the penetration of Christian practice from other parts of the world into a regional Irish monastery. Evidence found here supports eighth-century construction of drystone oratories and leachta, as well as a large gable shrine and its mound. The complex reliquary structure was built to honour the corporeal relics of the Illaunloughan saints, but the community also used the eastern quadrant of its mound as their graveyard, an indication that the Christian custom of burial near the saints was active in Ireland then. The community also placed white quartz stones and scallop shells in with the bones of the saints, apparently for symbolic spiritual purposes. White quartz stones are found on many early medieval Irish sites, but the unusual presence of scallop shells may reflect knowledge of a large scallop shell over the entry to the Tomb of Christ in Jerusalem. Excellent preservation of midden remains allowed the first detailed quantitative analysis of diet and economy in the region and showed that both wild and domesticated resources, including meat, oats, seabirds and fish, were eaten. The nature of the diet raised questions about the extent of mainland support of the monastery and the possibility that a marginal environment existed in the area at this time. Illaunloughan also revealed other new information, such as the construction of sod oratories, the casting and designing of fine metalwork on small sites and the fosterage of exceptionally young children on monastic islands. -------------------------------------- Thank you for your continued support! I respectfully request that if you are considering ordering any of these books that you do so through Read Ireland in order that the service and the newsletter continues! I very much appreciate your custom. To order books from the Read Ireland Book Review - simply return the Newsletter by clicking your reply button. Please delete the books you do not want and leaving the books you want to order. Alternatively, you can send an email to the order department at: Please be sure to include your mailing address and credit card details. You can of course also post your order to: Read Ireland, 392 Clontarf Road, Clontarf, Dublin 3,Ireland. Telephone and Facsimile number is: +353-1-853-2063. Read Ireland Web Site Home Page: or All Prices and Rates are in Euro (US Dollar and UK Sterling prices are guidelines based on current exchange rates.) Prices on books reviewed above are firm and discounted from the prices listed on the website. Post + package is charged at cost.
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