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Saturday, July 01, 2006

Read Ireland

Advert: "O'Grady's Well is a fantasy story set in the south west coast of Ireland. It tells the story of Danny a young lad from Boston who travels to Ireland with his family to trace their family tree. Whilst there, Danny discovers that he has gifts that other humans do not and he is drawn into the world of the leprechauns and faeries. This is an exciting story that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Full of wonderful characters and exciting adventures, O'Grady's Well is a book that readers of fantasy stories will not be able to put down once they have started to read it." O’Grady’s Well by Heulwen Jones (Paperback; 8 Euro / 10 US / 6 UK; 92 pages) ------------------------------------------- Read Ireland Book Reviews – Issue 345 – Irish Fiction ------------------------------------------- The Sea by John Banville (Paperback; 10.00 Euro / 13.00 USD / 7.00 UK; 260 pages) This title is the winner of the 2005 Man Booker Prize. When art historian Max Morden returns to the seaside village where he once spent a childhood holiday, he is both escaping from a recent loss and confronting a distant trauma. The Grace family had appeared there, in that long-ago summer, as if from another world. Mr. and Mrs. Grace, with their worldly ease and candour, were unlike any adults he had met before. But it was his contemporaries, the Grace twins, Myles and Chloe, who most fascinated Max. He grew to know them intricately, even intimately, and what ensued would haunt him for the rest of his years and shape everything that was to follow. Praise for "The Sea": 'With his fastidious wit and exquisite style, John Banville is the heir to Nabokov. "The Sea" [is] his best novel so far ...Banville's prose is sublime' - "Daily Telegraph". 'This is a novel in which all Banville's remarkable gifts come together to produce a real work of art, disquieting, disturbing, beautiful, intelligent, and in the end, surprisingly, offering consolation' - Allan Massie, "Scotsman". '"The Sea" is a beautiful novel, challenging and richly rewarding ... It is a comfort to know that we have a lord of language among us' - Gerry Dukes, "Irish Independent". ------------------------------------- The Human Season by Louise Dean (Paperback; 10.00 Euro / 13.00 USD / 7.00 UK; 374 pages) It is December 1979. Kathleen's son Sean has been convicted of a crime on behalf of the IRA and sent to Long Kesh prison - newly renamed the Maze. John Dunn has just taken up a job as a prison guard after leaving the army. Both will be shocked at what they find. Both will try to do the right thing, and fail. Neither will ever be the same again. Louise Dean's sensational new novel deals with one of the most explosive and morally complex incidents in recent British history. "This Human Season" is a powerful, confronting, humane, and blackly funny examination of the lives of ordinary people when placed in the vice of history. ----------------------------------- A Long Long Way by Sebastian Barry (Paperback; 10.00 Euro / 13.00 USD / 7.00 UK; 291 pages) One of the most vivid and realised characters of recent fiction, Willie Dunne is the innocent hero of Sebastian Barry's highly acclaimed novel. Leaving Dublin to fight for the Allied cause as a member of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, he finds himself caught between the war playing out on foreign fields and that festering at home, waiting to erupt with the Easter Rising. Profoundly moving, intimate and epic, "A Long Long Way" charts and evokes a terrible coming of age, one too often written out of history. ------------------------------------ The Secret Life of E. Robert Pembleton by Michael Collins (Large Paperback; 14 Euro / 17 USD / 11 UK; 355 pages) It's been over a decade since Robert Pendleton published his brilliant short story debut, and his hopes for a dazzling literary career now lie in tatters. Hanging on to his tenure in literature at Bannockburn college by the slimmest of threads, Pendleton's simmering despair boils over with the arrival on campus of his one-time friend, now nemesis, the bestselling author and king of the coffee-table book, Allen Horowitz. For Pendleton, death seems to be the only remaining option, but his attempt to kill himself is wrecked by the intervention of Adi Wiltshire, a graduate student battling her own demons of failure and thwarted ambition. Whilst Pendleton recovers from his suicide attempt, Adi discovers a novel hidden in his basement: a brilliant, bitter story with a gruesome murder at its core. The publication of Scream causes a storm of publicity, a whirlwind into which Adi and Horowitz are thrust - along with the sister of a young girl whose real-life, unsolved murder bears an uncanny resemblance to the crime in Pendleton's novel and a burnt-out cop with secrets of his own, who is determined to prove that in this case fact and fiction are one and the same. --------------------------------------- The Wrong Kind of Blood by Declan Hughes (Trade Paperback; 14 Euro / 17 USD / 11 UK; 350 pages) The night of my mother`s funeral, Linda Dawson cried on my shoulder, put her tongue in my mouth and asked me to find her husband. Now she was lying dead on her living room floor, and the howl of a police siren echoed through the surrounding hills…` Ed Loy hasn`t been back to Dublin for twenty years. But his mother is dead, and he has returned home to bury her. He soon realizes that the world waiting for him is very different from the one he left behind all those years ago. `Tommy said you found people who were missing`, Linda Dawson tells him the evening of his mother`s funeral. Linda`s husband has disappeared. She doesn`t want the police involved. So reluctantly, Loy agrees to investigate. And suddenly in this place where he grew up – among the Georgian houses, Victorian castles, and modern villas of Castlehill – Loy finds himself thrown into a world of organized crime, long-hidden secrets, corruption and violence. And murder. ---------------------------------- The Free and Easy by Anne Haverty (Trade Paperback; 16.00 Euro / 19.00 USD / 11.00UK; 282 pages) A wealthy American is burdened by a recurrent dream about his native Ireland, a country that had long ceased to interest or trouble him. Convinced that the Irish are asking him for help, he equips his errant grand-nephew, Tom Blessman, with a generous bank account, and dispatches him to the old country to offer assistance. In Dublin, Tom is bewildered to find a city thronged with glossy, happening people and an economy in overdrive. The Irish apparently want for nothing. As Tom attempts to make sense of it all - and to resolve his own personal history - he falls in with a fascinating gallery of characters, some of them super-rich, some trying to make their way in this opportunistic new world, and others pinning their hopes and ambitions to art, literature and 'heritage projects'. Central to this alluring scene is the sprawling Kinane family, especially Eileen, the lost soul of the family, whose waif-like beauty Tom pursues through the city's bars, art galleries and parties, becoming ever more entangled with the dangerous Irish merry-go-round. Teeming with brilliant characters, clamorous with the life of Dublin's pubs and cafes, and the atmosphere of its streets, "The Free And Easy" is a hugely entertaining and mordant take on Ireland past and present from one of Ireland's most stylish and interesting writers. ----------------------------------- Divided Loyalties by Patricia Scanlan (Hardback; 17 Euro / 21 USD / 12 UK) Shauna and Greg's marriage is under pressure. She wants another baby. He doesn't. She also has to endure her obnoxious in-laws, 'The Freeloaders', Della, Eddie and their spoilt kids. They arrive at her home at the drop of a hat, stay as long as they like, and eat and drink all around them without lifting a finger to help. Shauna's glad to be moving abroad - she'll be free of them at long last. But three thousand miles won't stop the determined Della, free holidays in an exotic location. Perfect! Carrie, Shauna's sister, can't help feeling put upon. The burden of looking after their elderly, hypochondriac father rests on her and she's fed up of it. Is it too much to ask that the burden be shared? Resentment builds, even though she loves her siblings, Can Carrie put her foot down and stand up for herself? Bobby, the youngest, has a poisoned relationship with his father who blames him for the premature death of his wife. A bitter confrontation leaves them estranged. Can they ever settle their differences? Or are some rifts just to painful to resolve? The last Christmas the family got together was a disaster, but circumstances change. Can the family turn things around and finally put the past behind them as they prepare for another family gathering? --------------------------------------- Restless Spirit: The Story of Rose Quinn by Margaret Hawkins (Trade Paperback; 13.00 Euro / 16.00 USD / 10.00 UK; 288 pages) 'And then there was Rose...' - five little words that catapulted Wexford woman, Patricia Quinn, into a dedicated search for information about the great-aunt she never knew. Rose Quinn died in an asylum less than a year after being committed. Such was the stigma attached to having a relative in the asylum that Patricia's father, John Quinn, only told her about this shortly before he died. In the course of subsequent research, Patricia was shocked to discover many coincidences between her life and Rose's. There was also an unexpected spiritual connection between Rose and Patricia's daughter, Catherine, that was to result in finding Rose's burial place - a plot behind the asylum, now known as St Senan's Hospital. This fascinating book interweaves the search for information about Rose with a reconstruction of her life in novel form. Rose Quinn had to become a restless spirit to have her story told. This is it. ------------------------------ The House by Leland Bardwell (Paperback; 11 Euro / 14 USD / 7 UK; 150 pages) The House tells the story of Cedric Stewart, who returns from post-World War I London to visit his dying father at the family home near Killiney, County Dublin. Divorced, and estranged from his Anglo-Irish parents with their ‘stiff Protestant notions’, he finds solace once more in Theresa, the Catholic housekeeper whom he has adored since he first knew the meaning of love. Through flashbacks to his childhood and to previous visits to the house with which he has a love-hate relationship, Cedric tries to recover a sense of his own place in the world. Originally published in 1984, a classic of Irish fiction. --------------------------------- Don’t Move by Margaret Mazzantini (Paperback; 11 Euro / 14 USD / 7 UK; 263 pages) Timoteo: high-flying career as a surgeon, beautiful wife, luxurious apartment, villa by the sea - he seems the epitome of success and glamour. But then his daughter falls off her scooter and is rushed to the hospital in a coma. A colleague operates on her head injuries and, while the agonised Timoteo awaits the outcome, he holds the reader in the vice-like grip of his confession. For, beneath the veneer of his apparently charmed life, there is a story of squalor, degradation, deceit and strange passion. The story of a doomed love affair with a woman who, from the moment Timoteo meets her, undermines everything he thought he knew about himself. Mazzantini's chilling portrait of a supremely self-assured man losing control has taken readers by storm across the world. Highly atmospheric, subtly disturbing, it keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout. In the end, the suspense of wondering whether Timoteo's daughter will live is overtaken by the question of deciding just how much pity her guilty father deserves. This second novel from the Dublin born author has won numerous awards including the prestigious Italian Strega Prize. ------------------------------------- Where They Were Missed by Lucy Caldwell (Large Paperback; 14 Euro / 17 USD / 10 UK; 230 pages) It is Belfast in the 1980s and Daisy and Saoirse are living through the hottest summer ever. The yard is too hot, their mother keeps flying off the handle and their father doesn't come home until late. Things aren't improved by the neighbourhood children who call them names and leave nasty things on their doorstep. Police sirens whine through the streets at night and Daisy asks why they can't have a mural painted on their house like the other houses down the road. As the two girls dream of ice creams from Antonini's and the characters from their bedtime stories, it's clear that their parents are struggling with each other and the political violence outside that is forcing them ever closer together and yet is also smashing them apart. Then one day a tragedy occurs and life changes for good. Ten years later Saoirse is in Gweebarra Bay in Southern Ireland, living with her aunt and uncle, far from the sadness of her childhood in Belfast. She has managed to hook a good-looking local lad and is preparing for the school dance. But there is still an aching absence in her life and soon she will discover that her extended family is holding the secret to what really happened when she left her childhood home. "Where they were Missed" is a moving meditation on the beauty and sadness of northern Ireland as political violence bleeds into everyday life but above all it is the story of an ordinary family, about children and marriage and how loss can help us grow up, but also can undo us. ----------------------------------------- Highlights from the Previous Issue: ---------------------------------- Michael Collins’s Intelligence War: The Struggle Between the British and the IRA 1919-1921 by Michael Foy (Hardback; 26.00 Euro / 32.00 USD / 20.00 UK; 280 pages, with 16-page black-and-white photo insert) Michael Collins (1890-1922) is often thought of as Ireland's lost leader: a man born into a revolutionary environment who became a skilled statesman and military leader and who met an untimely and violent death. Michael Foy's new book looks in depth at Collins's key role in the still fiercely divisive Anglo-Irish War that came in the aftermath of the 1916 Easter Rising. It describes Collins' rise to prominence within Irish republicanism after the Easter Rising and, as de facto leader of the IRA and GHQ Director of Intelligence, how he was largely instrumental in bringing about the Anglo-Irish War of 1919 to 1921. It also contains a detailed account of how, for the first time in Irish revolutionary history, Collins seized the intelligence initiative from the British. The intelligence war is set firmly within the context of a city at war and Dublin's conditions at the time are vividly recaptured. The book uses an extensive range of primary sources - including written statements by participants, contemporary documents and photographs from both the Bureau of Military History, Dublin and the National Archives in London - to explore the role and personality of this fascinating man. ------------------------------------ Michael Collins and the Making of the Irish State edited by Gabriel Doherty and Dermot Keogh (Paperback; 15.00 Euro / 18.00 USD / 10.00 UK; 220 pages) This is a series of specially commissioned essays, written by some of Ireland's leading historians (academic and popular), on the contribution made by Michael Collins to the making of the Irish state. This is a professional evaluation of Michael Collins, which brings to light his multi-faceted and complex character. The contributors examine Collins as Minister for Finance, his role in intelligence, his policy towards the north, his career as Commander-in-Chief, the origins of the Civil War, his relationship with De Valera, and how academics view his place in Irish history. The volume is illustrated with an eight-page plate section of photographs from private family archives, from Military Archives and from the Examiner, in order to give the book added scholarly and popular appeal. ------------------------------------- The Anglo-Irish War: The Troubles of 1913-1922 by Peter Cottrell (Large Format Paperback; 15.00 Euro / 18.00 USD / 10.00 UK; 100 pages with black-and-white photos throughout) The Anglo-Irish War has often been referred to as the war 'the English have struggled to forget and the Irish cannot help but remember'. Before 1919, the issue of Irish Home Rule lurked beneath the surface of Anglo-Irish relations for many years, but after the Great War, tensions rose up and boiled over. Irish Nationalists in the shape of Sinn Fein and the IRA took political power in 1919 with a manifesto to claim Ireland back from an English 'foreign' government by whatever means necessary. This book explores the conflict and the years that preceded it, examining such historic events as the Easter Rising and the infamous Bloody Sunday. ------------------------------------- Desmond’s Rising: Memoirs 1913 to Easter 1916 by Desmond FitzGerald (Paperback; 15.00 Euro / 18.00 USD / 10.00 UK; 240 pages) Urged on by friends, during the Second World War Desmond FitzGerald began writing about his experiences during the national movement for independence. The resulting book, covering the years from 1913 until just after the 1916 Easter Rising, remained unpublished until Garret FitzGerald found the manuscript in 1966. The book, here reissued as the first title in Liberties Press's Revival series, opens with Desmond FitzGerald's recollections of the time he spent on the Great Blasket Island and his relocation from Brittany to Dingle with the object of learning Irish and taking part in the emerging movement for Irish independence. Desmond's Rising charts Desmond's involvement in the Irish Volunteers and the IRB; his arrest and imprisonment in 1915.16; his involvement in the preparations for the Rising in Dublin; and his experiences in the GPO during the fateful Easter week of 1916. What strikes the reader most strongly is the unselfconscious heroism of those who took part in the Rising. This new edition features an updated foreword by former Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald and correspondence between George Bernard Shaw and Desmond's wife Mabel . the republican daughter of a Presbyterian Belfast businessman. Also included here for the first time are various reflections on the Rising and its aftermath, a candid account of Desmond's time in Maidstone Gaol, some of Desmond's poems and a number of rare photographs from the time. ------------------------------------ The Blueshirts by Maurice Manning (Paperback; 13.00 Euro / 16.00 USD / 10.00 UK; 272 pages) The Blueshirts were a quasi-fascist organisation founded in 1932 following de Valera's first election victory. They adopted the style and some of the substance of European fascist movements. Although relatively short-lived, they were one of the founding strands in what became the Fine Gael party. Maurice Manning's definitive history chronicles the rise and fall of the Blueshirts against the social and political background of Ireland in the late 1920s and 1930s. In many ways this book is a model. [The author's] account is clear, detailed and fully documented, his analysis of the conflicting interests and emotions dispassionate and perceptive, his conclusions balanced and sound. This is the way Irish history should be written. - "The Irish Times". An admirably lucid and well documented book [that] describes the rise and fall of the Blueshirt movement which figured so dramatically on the public stage during the turbulent thirties. - "Irish Independent". Manning's book is a worthy and welcome addition to a small but growing body of serious work on personalities, issues and institutions in the modern Irish state. - "Journal of Modern History". ----------------------------------- The Emergency: Neutral Ireland 1939-1945 by Brian Girvin (Large Format Paperback; 17.00 Euro / 22.00 USD / 12.00 UK; 380 pages with two 8-page black-and-white photo inserts) Brian Girvin has written a fresh and original history of Ireland between 1939 and 1945. Drawing on new sources and recent scholarship, he tells the story of what is known as "The Emergency" in Ireland, but elsewhere as the Second World War. Despite Ireland still being a member of the Commonwealth, Eamon de Valera refused to join the war against Nazi Germany and declared his country neutral. To the endless frustration and anger of Churchill - and later Roosevelt - de Valera pursued an isolationist policy that changed the course of Irish domestic and foreign politics. In this brilliantly argued account, Girvin shows how this policy went against the national interest, and far from being the only option for the Government, was simply the only one they would consider. This decision, Girvin concludes, cost de Valera his ultimate prize: a united Ireland. Woven into this political maelstrom are the stories of the people who lived through those difficult years. Bold, fearless and compelling, "The Emergency" is a unique and important addition to any understanding of Ireland and the Second World War. ------------------------------------- SAS: The History of the Special Raiding Squadron ‘Paddy’s Men’ by Stewart McClean (Hardback; 30 Euro / 36 USD / 20 UK; 160 pages) Extensively researched and accompanied by many original photographs, this history of the Special Raiding Squadron details the formation of the unit, the lives of the men and their operations during the Sicilian and Italian campaigns and the extraordinary man who commanded the squadron, Robert Blair Mayne DSO or Colonel Paddy as he became famously known throughout the world. Illustrated with never-seen-before photographs from the men involved, this book is the first detailed history of this relatively small but vitally important unit. ---------------------------------------- Ireland During World War Two by Ian S. Wood (Hardback; 15.00 Euro / 18.00 USD / 12.00 UK; 180 pages with black-and-white photos throughout) The claustrophobic years of the Second World War were a crucial watershed for neutral Ireland and the Irish. Neutrality was the key to Irish Prime Minister de Valera's foreign and domestic policy. Enforced economic hardship and isolation were seen by many as a blessing in disguise, hastening the new states coming of age. Many long lasting developments, such as the creation of a Central Bank signaled the beginning of the end of economic dependence on Britain. Neutrality ensured Britain, and more specifically Churchill, viewed Ireland with suspicion and barely concealed anger. Threats and inducements were used to persuade Ireland to allow the reoccupation of the Treaty Ports. Fear of IRA activity lead to increasingly draconian legislation. German spies were rumored to be forging links with an increasingly well-armed and militant IRA. Increased tension between Northern Ireland and the bombings of Belfast and Dublin raised questions about the viability of Ireland Neutrality. ------------------------------------- A History of the Irish Naval Service by Aidan McIvor (Trade Paperback; 25 Euro / 30 USD / 20 UK; 250 pages with black-and-white photos throughout and a full colour photo insert) This book chronicles the important role of Ireland's seabourne military forces in the Civil War and in the Emergency and explains the rebirth of the Irish Naval Service in the late twentieth century. Ever since the Boreal Seas rose sufficiently to form the islands of Ireland and Britain some 8000 years ago, both have been dependant on water transport for their being. Their history has been formed by the sea from the days of the later Stone Age cultures to the present. In this century there have been so many changes to the approach of the Irish to the sea that Aidan McIvor's book is both timely and necessary. Much has been written about the manifold problems of Ireland and many books deal with her extraordinary history. But this is a book in a different category. Based on a great deal of research, it is the tale of the maritime country which, since the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921, has consistently turned her back to the sea unless unusual events have caused a temporary change of heart. -------------------------------------- Walled Towns in Ireland volume 1 by Avril Thomas (Large Paperback; 30 Euro / 36 USD / 24 UK; 210 pages) Town walls were a common heritage for many Irish towns over long periods. The majority date from the Anglo-Norman period, but trends can be recognised which represent common themes throughout the centuries, especially the use of walled towns as 'refuges' for colonization projects. This study identifies, through surviving structures and documentary and murage evidence, the walled towns of Ireland. It provides a comprehensive investigation of site, shape, size (walled area and circuit length), structure (curtain walls, gates and towers, fosse, ramparts, associated castle/forts and harbours) and construction, including length of time and financial arrangements. Defensive and other uses are considered. Volume 1 provides a comparative study of walled towns in Ireland, reviews the conceptual basis of towns, and considers the nature and the problems of the evidence available. The distribution of walled towns throughout Ireland is also examined from historical and geographical viewpoints. ----------------------------------- Walled Towns in Ireland volume 2 by Avril Thomas (Large Paperback; 30 Euro / 36 USD / 24 UK; 210 pages) Volume 2 is the gazetteer companion of volume 1. It comprises most of the larger and more important walled towns and includes as well many of the smaller Irish towns and even some whose development failed to make progress. --------------------------------- The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty by Sebastian Barry (Paperback; 12 Euro / 15 USD / 8 UK; 310 pages) Following the end of the First World War, Eneas McNulty joins the British-led Royal Irish Constabulary. With all those around him becoming soldiers of a different kind, however, it proves to be the defining decision of his life when, having witnessed the murder of a fellow RIC policeman, he is wrongly accused of identifying the executioners. With a sentence of death passed over him he is forced to flee Sligo, his friends, family and beloved girl, Viv. What follows is the story of this flight, his subsequent wanderings, and the haunting pull of home that always afflicts him. Tender, witty, troubling and tragic, "The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty" tells the secret history of a lost man. ------------------------------------------ Thank you for your continued support. It is vital for the continuation of this service! If you appreciate receiving these regular emails, I respectfully request that if you are considering ordering any of these books that you do so through Read Ireland. Using these emails to order books from other suppliers does NOT support Read Ireland nor the continuation of the service. I very much appreciate your patronage. 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 LEAVE the books you DO WANT to order. Alternatively, you can send an email to the order department at: Please be sure to include your full mailing address and credit card details including expiration date. You might like to split this information into 2 or 3 emails for security. 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 I have added a new feature to the Read Ireland website. It is a page listing ONLY the newest books added to or updated on the website. This new feature page will itself be superseded at least 3 times per month (next update 4 July). Checking this page on the Read Ireland website is an ideal way to keep abreast of what is happening in the world of Irish Interest publishing. Please visit often! If I can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me. Thank you very much for your continued support and custom. Sincerely, Gregory Carr @ Read Ireland
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