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Saturday, August 04, 2007

Read Ireland

Read Ireland Book Reviews – Issue 386 – Recent Reprints and New in Paperback ------------------------------------- Contents: 1. An Prionsa Beag (The Little Prince) by Antoine De Saint-Exupéry (translated into Irish by Breandán Ó Doibhlin 2. Connemara Listening to the Wind by Tim Robinson 3. Whitethorn Woods by Maeve Binchy 4. Luke Kelly by Des Geraghty 5. Matters of Life and Death by Bernard MacLaverty 6. Mothers and Sons by Colm Toibin 7. This is Charlie Bird by Charlie Bird 8. Round Ireland with a Fridge by Tony Hawks 9. The Vanishing Acts of Esme Lennox by Maggie O’Farrell 10. The Singer and the Song: Sixty Irish Songwriters and their Favourite Songs by Audrey Healy 11. Against the Tide by Noel Browne ------------------------------------- 1. An Prionsa Beag (The Little Prince) by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, translated into Irish by Breandán Ó Doibhlin (Paperback; 10 Euro / 13 USD / 7 UK; 100 pages) Antoine de Saint-Exupéry first published The Little Prince in 1943, only a year before his Lockheed P-38 vanished over the Mediterranean during a reconnaissance mission. More than a half century later, this fable of love and loneliness has lost none of its power. The narrator is a downed pilot in the Sahara Desert, frantically trying to repair his wrecked plane. His efforts are interrupted one day by the apparition of a little, well, prince, who asks him to draw a sheep. "In the face of an overpowering mystery, you don't dare disobey," the narrator recalls. "Absurd as it seemed, a thousand miles from all inhabited regions and in danger of death, I took a scrap of paper and a pen out of my pocket." And so begins their dialogue, which stretches the narrator's imagination in all sorts of surprising, childlike directions. This book is now available in an Irish language edition, translated by Breandán Ó Doibhlin, of St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth University, Ireland. ----------------------------------- 2. Connemara Listening to the Wind by Tim Robinson (Paperback; 13 Euro / 20 USD / 10 UK; 440 pages) In its landscape, history and folklore, Connemara is a singular region: ill-defined geographically, and yet unmistakably a place apart from the rest of Ireland. Tim Robinson, who established himself as Ireland's most brilliant living non-fiction writer with the two-volume "Stones of Aran", moved from Aran to Connemara nearly twenty years ago. This book is the result of his extraordinary engagement with the mountains, bogs and shorelines of the region, and with its folklore and its often terrible history: a work as beautiful and surprising as the place it attempts to describe. (A few hardback editions remain available, very few, priced at 30 Euro). ---------------------------------------- 3. Whitethorn Woods by Maeve Binchy (Paperback; 9 Euro / 14 USD / 7 UK; 450 pages) The town of Rossmore is a special place, full of character and charm. Nestled beside the Whitethorn Woods, the town has grown since the days when it was small and friendly and everyone knew everyone else; now it has chain stories and traffic problems and housing estates. But it still has the woods, with the well dedicated to St Ann, where generations have come to pray or make wishes or just to look back at the pretty little town. Which is why there is going to be such a fuss about the plans for the new road, cutting through Whitethorn Woods. The people of Rossmore are divided. No one is more concerned than the curate, Father Brian Flynn, who has no idea which faction to support. Surely Neddy Nolan's family should take the compensation being offered for their land? But wasn't Neddy's mother given a cure at the well many years ago? And what about the childless London woman who came to Whitethorn Woods begging the saint for help, with unexpected consequences? Full of Maeve Binchy's warmth, humour and compassion, WHITETHORN WOODS tells of the people of Rossmore, each with their own story, as they wait for the great road of progress... ------------------------------------- 4. Luke Kelly by Des Geraghty (Paperback; 12 Euro / 16 USD / 8 UK; 156 pages) Luke Kelly (1940-1984) was an Irish singer and folk musician from Dublin most famous as a member of the band The Dubliners. Kelly was one of the best-known figures of the Irish folk music movement of the 1960s and 1970s. A Dubliner from the north inner city. He emigrated to Britain in 1958. There he first became involved in the growing international folk music scene in which Ewan MacColl was a central figure. In 1962 Luke Kelly returned to Dublin and quickly became a central figure in the city's burgeoning folk music community. He formed a folk group with Drew, McKenna, Ciaran Bourke and John Sheahan, which he named The Dubliners. In 1965, Kelly married the actress Deirdre O'Connell, one of the founders of the Focus Theatre. In the mid-1960s, Luke moved to England and on returning, he rejoined the Dubliners. Luke remained a politically engaged musician, and many of the songs he recorded dealt with social issues, the arms race and war, workers' rights and Irish nationalism. Luke Kelly was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 1980, and died in 1984. He remains a Dublin icon and his music is widely regarded as one of the city's cultural treasures. The Ballybough Bridge in the north inner city of Dublin has been renamed the The Luke Kelly Bridge. ---------------------------------- 5. Matters of Life and Death by Bernard MacLaverty (Paperback; 11 Euro / 15 USD / 7 UK; 240 pages) A new book of stories from Bernard MacLaverty is a cause for celebration, but "Matters of Life and Death" is more than that, as it is - without question - the finest collection yet from a contemporary master of the form. Beginning with the sudden, nauseating terror of a family caught up in an explosion of shocking sectarian violence and ending with the white-out of an Iowa blizzard and a different kind of fear, "Matters of Life and Death" is a book about bonds and connections, made and broken, secret and known. Vivid, beautifully controlled and written with effortless skill and empathy, these stories are object lessons in the art of short fiction. -------------------------------- 6. Mothers and Sons by Colm Toibin (Paperback; 11 Euro ; 15 USD / 7 UK; 310 pages) Colm Toibin's new and challenging collection of stories paint rich and textured portraits of individuals at different pivotal moments in their lives. In each case, Toibin shows how their relationship with either a mother or a son, or their relationship to their own role as mother or son, reveals something unique and important about them. The stories feature Ireland or Irish narrators, but they are also truly universal. In "Famous Blue Raincoat", unwelcome memories are stirred when a mother, once a singer in an Irish folk-rock band of some popular renown in the 60s, finds that her son has been listening to their old records - songs she hoped never to hear again. In "Water", a son buries his mother and goes out to a drug-fuelled rave on a remote beach outside Dublin. In the course of this one night, his grief and desire for raw feeling combine with exquisite and devastating intensity. At once beautifully playful, psychologically intricate, emotionally incisive, finely-wrought and fearless these stories tease out the delicate and difficult strands which are woven between mothers and sons. Sometimes shocking and always powerful, this masterful new collection confirms Toibin as great prose stylist of our time. Praise for "The Master" includes: 'An audacious, profound, and wonderfully intelligent book' - Hermione Lee, "Guardian". 'The Master is not short of a masterpiece.' - "Independent on Sunday". ----------------------------- 7. This is Charlie Bird by Charlie Bird (Paperback; 13 Euro / 18 USD / 9 UK; 295 pages) Charlie Bird has been at the heart of every big news event over the last twenty-five years, breaking exclusive stories and interviewing presidents and prime ministers. In his autobiography, he tells his own story and reveals how he has become one of Ireland's best-known journalists. Charlie Bird has made his name as a front-of-camera reporter covering the news as it happens, from wherever it happens. During his career as a news journalist, he reported on the upheavals of the Haughey/FitzGerald years through to the governments of Albert Reynolds, John Bruton and Bertie Ahern. Charlie Bird was RTE's contact with the IRA and now for the first time, he reveals the background to his meetings with leading republicans in the lead-up to the 1994 and 1997 ceasefire declarations. He also recalls the investigation which exposed wrong-doing at National Irish Bank and the resulting stress of being involved in Ireland's longest libel case. He gives an insight into his foreign travels including the trial of Father Niall O'Brien in the Philippines, the release of Brian Keenan, meeting Nelson Mandela when he voted in the first post-apartheid elections in South Africa, and the Asian tsunami in 2004. Today Charlie is one of the best-known faces on Irish TV. In telling his story, he goes beyond the news agenda to tell his own personal story, his family background and Dublin childhood as well as the difficulties that have arisen when he became part of the media story himself. "It's well worth a read." - "Irish Times". "Real contemporary history, told from the man who articulated and therefore shaped the history as it happened" - "Irish Examiner" - "RTE Guide". ----------------------------------- 8. Round Ireland with a Fridge by Tony Hawks (Paperback; 12 Euro / 16 USD / 8 UK; 264 pages) 'I hereby bet Tony Hawks the sum of One Hundred Pounds that he cannot hitchhike round the circumference of Ireland, with a fridge, within one calendar month.' A foolhardy attempt to win a drunken bet led to Tony Hawks having one of the most unforgettable experiences of his life. Joined by his trusty travelling-companion-cum-domestic-appliance, he found himself in the midst of a remarkable, inspirational and, at times, downright silly adventure. In their month of madness, Tony and his fridge surfed together; entered a bachelor festival; and one of them had sex without the other knowing. The fridge got christened and they even met the poorest king on Earth. An absurd story of an extraordinary adventure, "Round Ireland with a Fridge" follows the fearless pair as they battle towards Dublin and a breathtaking finale that is moving, uplifting, and a fitting conclusion to the whole ridiculous affair. ------------------------------------ 9. The Vanishing Acts of Esme Lennox by Maggie O’Farrell (Paperback; 11 Euro / 15 USD / 8 UK; 277 pages) A significant departure for Maggie O'Farrell in terms of maturity and style, the paperback publication of THE VANISHING ACT OF ESME LENNOX will be an unmissable event. Set between the 1930s,and the present, Maggie O'Farrell's new novel is the story of Esme, a woman edited out of her family's history, and of the secrets that come to light when, sixty years later, she is released from care, and a young woman, Iris, discovers the great aunt she never knew she had. The mystery that unfolds is the heartbreaking tale of two sisters in colonial India and 1930s Edinburgh - of the loneliness that binds them together and the rivalries that drive them apart, and lead one of them to a shocking betrayal - but above all it is the story of Esme, a fiercely intelligent, unconventional young woman, and of the terrible price she is made to pay for her family's unhappiness. This is vintage Maggie O'Farrell: an impassioned, intense, haunting family drama - a stunning imagining of a life stolen, and reclaimed. -------------------------------------- 10. The Singer and the Song: Sixty Irish Songwriters and their Favourite Songs by Audrey Healy (Paperback; 10 Euro / 14 USD / 7 UK; 282 pages) Have you ever wondered what motivates an artist to write a song? What exactly was the inspiration behind classics such as "Rare Auld Times" or Christy Moore's "The Two Conneelys". Or why certain songs like "The Hucklebuck" captured the hearts and minds of Ireland at a certain period in time? Here, in this unusual and thought-provoking collection, fifty of Ireland's celebrated musicians take the lyrics of their favourite song, explains what that song means to them and invites readers to listen to the song in a whole new light. From folk to rock, traditional songs to showband classics, it includes contributions from artists such Luka Bloom, Mary Black, Leslie Dowall, Johnny Logan, Maria Butterly, Charlie McGettigan, The Stunning, Roesy, Mundy, Liam Lawton, Don Baker, John Spillane and many many more. This unique compilation brings together the very old and the very new of Irish talent, and is a must for music lovers. ---------------------------------- 11. Against the Tide by Noel Browne (Paperback; 15 Euro / 20 USD / 10 UK; 282 pages) The widely acclaimed autobiography of an iconic figure of twentieth century politics, who was synonymous with controversty and reform but is remembered with affection and honour. -------------------------------- Previous Issue: -------------- Read Ireland Book Reviews – Issue 385 – Irish History ------------------------- Contents: 1. Fighting for Dublin: The British Battle for Dublin, 1919-1921 by William Sheehan 2. The Second World War and Irish Women: An Oral History by Mary Muldowney 3. Framing the West: Images of Rural Ireland 1891-1920 edited by Ciara Breathnach with a foreword by Cormac O Grada 4. Donegal: The Making of a Northern County edited by Jim Mac Laughlin 5. James Joyce’s Dublin Houses and Nora Barnacle’s Galway by Vivien Igoe 6. An Archaeology of Southwest Ireland 1570-1670 by Colin Breen 7. Nation States: The Cultures of Irish Nationalism by Michael Mays 8. Great Irish Writers by Martin Wallace -------------------------------------- 1. Fighting for Dublin: The British Battle for Dublin, 1919-1921 by William Sheehan (Paperback; 15 Euro / 20 USD / 10 UK; 166 pages) The British Army faced shoot-outs in cities, ambushes on rural roads. It was a typical twentieth-century conflict, as shown by the British account of the campaign in Dublin. To this is added an extract from the intelligence history of the campaign, brief biographies of key British commanders and officers killed on Bloody Sunday. Familiar names and events described include the arrest of Kevin Barry, the wounding of Dan Breen, the burning of the Custom House and arresting de Valera and Erskine Childers. ------------------------------------ 2. The Second World War and Irish Women: An Oral History by Mary Muldowney (Trade Paperback; 28 Euro / 36 USD / 18 UK; 230 pages) Based on interviews with over thirty Irish women, this book covers their experiences during the Second World War years and how the war impacted on them in terms of their public and private roles. Themes such as class and income, employment, health and housing are covered, arising from the women's recollections and international research into women and war. The women, from a variety of family and social backgrounds, mainly lived and worked in Belfast and Dublin between 1939 and 1945, but some of them went to Britain to take up war work. The women's own stories are compared with contemporary observations from a number of sources, including the Mass-Observation diary of Belfast woman, Moya Woodside. Other comparisons are made with newspaper commentaries and the files of government and other public bodies responsible for shaping social policy. The book shows that despite the many restrictions that the interviewees faced, in terms of access to education, employment opportunities and to equal treatment in a number of spheres, most of them overcame the obstacles in their way, some of which were considerable. Although the research demonstrated that in economic, political and social terms the war did not make any significant impact on Irish women, the evidence of the individuals who contributed their memories showed that it offered them opportunities to 'spread their wings', as one of the women described her activities. The book also compares the position of Irish women with their contemporaries in other western countries. While there has been a lot of research on the topic of women and war in other countries, no comparable work has yet been carried out here. ----------------------------------- 3. Framing the West: Images of Rural Ireland 1891-1920 edited by Ciara Breathnach with a foreword by Cormac O Grada (Oblong Paperback; 28 Euro / 42 USD / 21 UK; 266 pages, with black-and-white photographs throughout) This thematic book, based on Irish photographs 1891-1920, focuses on the importance of visual resources to scholars of Ireland. Some of the images belong to the Tuke collection held at the National Photographic Archive, Dublin but the majority of the images used in this volume stem from the extensive collections of Belfast-based photographer, Robert J. Welch. His professional career spanned almost sixty years and being a careful observer of all aspects of life inevitably his work carries a wealth of previously underused historical data. Prolific as he was, his images have been dispersed worldwide so this work endeavours to reunite the various strands of Welch s interests. To this end three of the contributors Dr Vivienne Pollock, Ulster Museum, Marie Boran, Special Collections Librarian, NUI Galway (NUIG) and Maggie Burns, Librarian, Birmingham Central Library will account the provenance and nature of the Welch material held at their respective repositories. Sara Smyth, National Photographic Archive, Dublin, focuses on the Tuke collection held in Dublin, while Dr Gail Baylis, University of Ulster, Coleraine, critically assesses the relationship between the photographer, lens and subject. Dr Justin Carville, Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Dun Laoghaire, will describe the significance of Welch s contribution to colonial photography. ------------------------------------ 4. Donegal: The Making of a Northern County edited by Jim Mac Laughlin (Hardback; 45 Euro / 60 USD / 30 UK; 385 pages) This anthology uses extracts from a wide variety of sources, to examine social and geographical change in Donegal over the past five centuries. Combining the approaches of the literary anthologist with that of the historian and social geographer, Jim MacLaughlin focuses on changes in community life and material culture in Donegal from the pre-colonial period to the late 20th century. The book presents extracts from historical records, travel literature, literary sources, biographies and autobiographies, official documents, political pamphlets and reports of government officials. It places the interpretations of academics alongside the observations of local historians, antiquarians, travellers, government officials, poets and writers. ----------------------------------- 5. James Joyce’s Dublin Houses and Nora Barnacle’s Galway by Vivien Igoe (Trade Paperback; 14 Euro / 20 USD / 10 UK; 186 pages) James Joyce's Dublin Houses describes in detail the many houses in Dublin where the Joyce family lived. It reflects on the positive effect that the constant moving had on the young James Joyce, in providing him with an intimate knowledge of the city that was to become such an important backdrop to his work. It also provides detailed information for the reader on how to get to the various places. It concentrates on the houses where the Joyce family lived, also pinpointing the haunts of his characters, Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus. Vivien Igoe, an expert on Joyce, explains the background and origins of both Joyce and Nora Barnacle, who inspired the principal female character in Ulysses and Finnegans Wake. There is also information on where Joyce stayed on his return visits to Dublin in later life. While the book will be of interest to Joycean pilgrims and students of Anglo-Irish literature alike, it is also aimed at the general reader to provide a useful interpretative aid to Dubliners and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. ---------------------------------------- 6. An Archaeology of Southwest Ireland 1570-1670 by Colin Breen (Hardback; 45 Euro / 60 USD / 30 UK; 240 pages) The 17th century was a period of significant political and religious upheavals and was also a formative period in terms of landscape and settlement development throughout Ireland. This book examines Munster from an historical archaeology perspective. In particular the study sets the archaeological context of these developments against the historical background of plantation, Cromwellian intervention and economic expansion. Important developments in rural settlement occurred with a network of agricultural and trade settlement clusters being established or re-developed. The landscape was also physically changed through new patterns of ownership, enclosure and intensification of rural practice. Much of this was related to a large expansion in agricultural and fishing activity resulting in significant investment in port and marine communication facilities. Industry was an important component of these developments and the Munster landscape retains many traces of these industries including iron and charcoal works. Finally the role of the churches is examined in the context of these changing times. -------------------------------------- 7. Nation States: The Cultures of Irish Nationalism by Michael Mays (Trade Paperback; 30 Euro / 40 USD / 20 UK; 222 pages) This book examines the cultural formations of Irish nationalism, and the corollary processes of decolonization, postcolonialism, modernity, and globalization, that have been instrumental in the creation of the modern Irish state. In mapping the contested cultural terrain of Irish nationalism from the Act of the Union of 1800 to the present, Mays argues that Irish nationalism as a coherent ideological form took shape isomorphically out of the historical conditions and exchanges of Anglo-Irish colonial negotiation. ------------------------------- 8. Great Irish Writers by Martin Wallace (Small Paperback; 7 Euro / 10 USD / 5 UK; 127 pages, with colour and black-and-white photos throughout) "Great Irish Writers" provides a parade of the biographies of some of Ireland's greatest literary figures. Some figures are little known outside of Ireland such as Forest Reid, Gerald Griffin, or Joyce Cary but others such as Seamus Heaney, James Joyce or W.B. Yeats are famous worldwide. Martin Wallace celebrates the best of Ireland's poets, playwrights and novelists. His cast includes such favourites as Dean Swift; George Farquhar, Samuel Beckett, Brendan Behan and many more. -------------------------------------- Thank you for your continued support. It is vital for the continuation of this service! If you appreciate receiving theseregular 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. Please note that prices for these books on the Read Ireland website may differ from those quoted above. 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 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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