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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Read Ireland

Read Ireland Book Reviews – Issue 398 – Irish Fiction and Poetry ----------------------------------------- Contents: 1. The Silver Swan by Benjamin Black (aka John Banville) 2. This Year It Will be Different by Maeve Binchy 3. Foolish Mortals by Jennifer Johnston 4. Fox, Swallow, Scarecrow by Eilis Ni Dhuibhne 5. Horse Latitudes by Paul Muldoon 6. New and Selected Poems by Pat Boran 7. The Company of Horses by Peter Fallon 8. Out of Breath by Eamon Grennan 9. The Fifty Minute Mermaid by Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill, translated from the Irish by Paul Muldoon 10. Snow Negatives by Enda Coyle-Greene 11. The Poetry of Derek Mahon by Hugh Haughton 12. Somewhere the Wave new poems by Derek Mahon 13. District and Circle by Seamus Heaney ------------------------------------ 1. The Silver Swan by Benjamin Black (aka John Banville) (Trade Paperback; 15 Euro / 20 USD / 10 UK; 342 pages) Time has moved on for Quirke, the world-weary Dublin pathologist first encountered in Christine Falls. It is the middle of the 1950s, that low, dishonourable decade; a woman he loved has died, a man whom he once admired is dying, while the daughter he for so long denied is still finding it hard to accept him as her father. When Billy Hunt, an acquaintance from college days, approaches him about his wife's apparent suicide, Quirke recognises trouble but, as always, trouble is something he cannot resist. Slowly he is drawn into a twilight world of drug addiction, sexual obsession, blackmail and murder, a world in which even the redoubtable Inspector Hackett can offer him few directions. (Also available in hardback, priced at 25 Euro) Also, Signed First Editions First Printing Hardback available at 40 Euro. ---------------------------------- 2. This Year It Will be Different by Maeve Binchy (Hardback; Publishers Recommended Price: 28 Euro. Read Ireland Special Price: 23 Euro / 32 USD / 16 UK; 260 pages) Filled with Maeve Binchy's trademark wit and true storytelling genius, THIS YEAR IT WILL BE DIFFERENT powerfully evokes the lives of of wives, husbands, children, friends and lovers, all set during the one holiday when feelings cannot easily be hidden. There are step-families grappling with exes; long-married couples faced with in-law problems; a wandering husband choosing between the other woman and his wife; a child caught up in a grown-up tug-of-war...The festive season may be magical, but it can also be a time of family difficulties, a time to reflect on relationships; a time of change. ------------------------------------ 3. Foolish Mortals by Jennifer Johnston (Hardback; 20 Euro / 29 USD / 14 UK; 250 pages) All families are complicated, but some are more complicated than others. And Christmas can only make matters worse. After Ciara's estranged father is nearly killed by his second wife in a car accident - or was it an accident? Ciara begins, gingerly, to reenter his life. As her troubled family gather for the holidays, is it too much to hope that they begin to find peace at last? Of course it is. With cross-dressing twins, new loves and an unpredictably monstrous matriarch, Christmas was never going to be easy. But it proves both more disastrous and happier than any of them could have guessed. --------------------------------- 4. Fox, Swallow, Scarecrow by Eilis Ni Dhuibhne (Trade Paperback; 14 Euro / 19 USD / 10 UK; 400 pages) Twenty-first-century Dublin was chic, seductive, and affluent. At the glittering heart of the city is Anna Kelly Sweeney, a moderately successful writer, who lives in exclusive south Dublin with her wealthy property developer husband Alex and her son Rory. Thus insulated from harsh and unpleasant realities, Anna's life is spent in the endless round of launches, lunches and opening nights that makes up the city's literary scene. But Anna is not happy. Sensing the emptiness of her existence, she falls for the handsome but irresponsible Vincy and prepares to abandon home, husband and son for the dream of an all-conquering love. Anna's life is in crisis, and as events unfold, her sense of herself as both a woman and a writer is shattered. Self-consciously echoing and drawing on Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, Eilis Ni Dhuibhne's ambitious new novel uses the story of Anna as a critique of Irish society in the twenty-first century. Set largely in Dublin and Kerry, Ni Dhuibhne weaves Anna's story together with that of Leo, Kate, Gerry and a cast of other characters, to create a rich tapestry, a web of stories through which to explore, amongst other things, family and marriage, the materialism of Irish society and culture, the relationship between the urban and the rural, the role of the writer and of writing, and the search for purpose, meaning and spirituality in modern Irish life. Panoramic, strikingly original and compulsively readable, "Anna Kelly Sweeney" is a modern-day morality tale, an intelligent, funny, critical but always fiercely humane insight into contemporary Irish culture and society. --------------------------------- 5. Horse Latitudes by Paul Muldoon (Paperback with endflaps; Publishers Recommended Price: 16 Euro, Read Ireland Price: 13 Euro / 20 USD / 10 UK; 108 pages) The horse latitudes designate an area north and south of the equator in which ships tend to be becalmed, in which stasis if not stagnation is the order of the day, and where sailors traditionally threw horses overboard to conserve food and water. From Bosworth Field to Beijing, the Boyne to Bull Run, from a series of text messages to the nineteenth-century Irish poet Tom Moore to an elegy for musician Warren Zevon, and from post-Agreement Ireland to George W. Bush's America, Paul Muldoon's tenth collection of poetry presents us with fields of battle and fields of debate, in which we often seem to have come to a standstill, but where language that has been debased may yet be restruck and made current to our predicament. Horse Latitudes engages the public sphere on equal terms with the most private and fugitive materials - 'the fifty years I've spent trying to put it together' - all within the same vigilant optic, in a language of inspired happenstance which, as ever, combines radical uncertainties of perspective with a lyrical lucidity. ( I have one first edition first printing hardback of this book left in stock, priced at 40 Euro. I also have another hardback copy, but not a first edition, priced at 20 Euro.) ------------------------------------ 6. New and Selected Poems by Pat Boran (Paperback; 16 Euro / 25 USD / 12 UK; 230 pages) First published in 2005, New and Selected Poems by Pat Boran presents a large selection of work by one of the best-known of the younger Irish poets. Introduced by Dennis O'Driscoll, for whom Boran is "a poet of mystery and fulfilment, of the eternal and numinous no less than the earthly and the everyday", New and Selected Poems features work from all of his earlier publications as well as a selection of newer work. "Pat Boran's poems make magic out of found things, and his metaphors light the dark like Roman candles. He is a master of his language; beyond that, he makes poetry matter to me again." -Gerard Donovan (author of Schopenhauer's Telescope and Doctor Salt) PAT BORAN was born in Portlaoise in 1963 and now lives in Dublin where he is publisher of the Dedalus Press and presenter of The Poetry Programme on RTÉ Radio 1. Since receiving the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award in 1989, he has pub-lished four widely-praised collections, The Unwound Clock (1990), Familiar Things (1993), The Shape of Water (1996) and As the Hand, the Glove (2001), as well as works of fiction and non-fiction including the popular writers' handbook, The Portable Creative Writing Workshop (1999/2005), and the Bisto Book of the Year shortlisted children's title, All the Way from China (1998). Volumes of his poetry have appeared in Hungarian, Macedonian and Italian, and are currently in preparation in other languages. In 2007 he was elected to membership of Aosdána, the Irish academy of artists. (Also available in Hardback, priced at 25 Euro). ------------------------------------ 7. The Company of Horses by Peter Fallon (Paperback; 12 Euro / 18 USD / 9 UK; 64 pages) "The Company of Horses" is Peter Fallon's first collection of new poems since "News of the World: Selected and New Poems" was published in 1998. "The Georgics of Virgil" appeared in 2004 and has since been reissued by Oxford in its "World's Classics Series". According to the "Irish Times", that book 'taken in parts or as a whole says "Glory to the World". And the glory is renewed for our time in Peter Fallon's translation.These new poems - closely observed and patiently assembled - continue that celebration and amplify that verdict. A book of uncommon empathy ('One World' registers the gentle effect of a tsunami on the coast of Ireland), it counts the blessings of the whole green force of nature. There are hymns to trees and other living creatures - a pine marten and riding horses, the persistence of seabirds and starlings. Inevitable elegiac notes are woven into riffs of a collection that highlights beginnings and beginnings again. These life-affirming lyrics manage to remain attentive to particular, cherished places - the author's Irish midlands home and a western retreat - while they assert common ground in the heart's affections and excitements. (Also available in Hardback, priced at 18.50 Euro) ---------------------------------- 8. Out of Breath by Eamon Grennan (Paperback; 12 Euro / 18 USD / 9 UK; 80 pages) The poems in Eamon Grennan's vivid new collection demonstrate once again his fidelity to "these light morsels/of the ordinary" from which he draws large, thought-provoking implications. Preoccupied with process he finds in breath itself an image for all that generates excitement, agitation, celebration, and elegy. These richly voiced poems explore both minute and major issues and nudge us in their own concentrated way towards revelations that alter, however slightly, the way we understand this various world. (Also available in Hardback, priced at 18.50 Euro). ---------------------------------- 9. The Fifty Minute Mermaid by Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill, translated from the Irish by Paul Muldoon (Trade Paperback; 14 Euro / 22 USD / 11 UK; 164 pages) This extravaganza of marvellous tales conjures a biography of mermaids and, in patterns of sometimes startling sounds and images, traces the fate of their race. It follows the paths and portals to another world, Land-Under-Wave, the realm of myth, imagination and the psyche. It is a book in touch and tune with the wellsprings of poetry. Neither ‘believing nor disbelieving’, sometimes insouciant and always wideranging, The Fifty Minute Mermaid is a book of accumulating force and subtle consonance. Paul Muldoon’s generous surrender to Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill’s poems supports José Saramago’s adage that the author with his or her language creates a national literature. World literature is created by translators. (also available in hardback, priced at 20 Euro) ------------------------------------ 10. Snow Negatives by Enda Coyle-Greene (Trade Paperback; 12 Euro / 18 USD / 9 UK; 76 pages) Enda Coyle-Greene's Snow Negatives is an exciting debut from an Irish poet whose work is already well known from literary magazines and journals. In poems that are at once formally alert and alive to the possibilities of new departure, Coyle-Greene records outward journeys and experiences, but always measured against a time when "the slow ash of innocence clung / to the cigarettes we smoked / behind the bicycle sheds" ('Witches'), and, increasingly, the awareness of mortality and the "eerily familiar" recognitions occasioned by merely going home. ------------------------------------- 11. The Poetry of Derek Mahon by Hugh Haughton Hardback; 45 Euro / 60 USD / 30 UK; 400 pages Derek Mahon is one of the leading poets of his time, both in Ireland and beyond, famously offering a perspective that is displaced from as much as grounded in his native country. From prodigious beginnings to prolific maturity, he has been, through thick and thin, through troubled times and other, a writer profoundly committed to the art of poetry and the craft of making verse. He has also been no-less a committed reviser of his work, believing the poem to be more than a record in verse, but a work of art never finished. This virtuoso study by Hugh Haughton provides the most comprehensive account imaginable of Mahon's oeuvre. Haughton's brilliant writing always serves and illuminates the poetry, yielding extraordinary insights on almost every page. The poetry, its revisions and reception, are the subject here, but so thorough is the approach that what is offered also amounts indirectly to an intellectual biography of the poet and with it an account of Northern Irish poetry vital to our understanding of the times. ----------------------- Special Limited Edition: ----------------------- 12. Somewhere the Wave new poems by Derek Mahon 36pp Hardback Publication date: 29 November 2007 (120 Euro / 170 USD / 85 UK - Price to increase to 150 Euro on 1st December) with drawings and watercolours by Bernadette Kiely Ten new poems – one of Derek Mahon’s ‘interim’ collections – conjure the world of Coleridge’s life, Brian Moore’s Belfast and the plays of Ibsen and Chekhov. They range from Italy to Goa to the American South. With the formal art of a master, they are sure to delight the author’s admirers. This handsome edition features pencil drawings and full colour reproductions of watercolours by Bernadette Kiely specially created in response to this new work. 500 copies are numbered and signed by the author. 450 copies only are for sale. Printed on Rives Artist and hardbound in linen with blind embossed title and in a Pergamenata wraparound. Somewhere the Wave is the second title in a new series. The first, The Riverbank Field by Seamus Heaney (and Martin Gale), was oversubscribed on publication. This book will be an instant collectors’ item and significantly increase in value. ------------------------------------------ 13. District and Circle by Seamus Heaney (Paperback; Publishers Recommended Price: 14 Euro; Read Ireland Book Review Special Price 11 Euro / 14 USD / 8 UK; 80 pages) Seamus Heaney's new collection starts 'in an age of bare hands and cast iron' and ends 'as the automatic lock/clunks shut' in the eerie new conditions of a menaced twentieth-first century. In their haunted, almost visionary clarity, the poems assay the weight and worth of what has been held in the hand and in the memory. Images out of a childhood spent safe from the horrors of World War II - railway sleepers, a sledgehammer, the 'heavyweight silence' of cattle out in rain - are coloured by a strongly contemporary sense that 'anything can happen' and other images from the dangerous present - a journey on the underground, a melting glacier - are fraught with this same anxiety. But "District and Circle", which includes a number of prose poems and translations, offers resistance as the poet gathers his staying powers and stands his ground in the hiding places of love and excited language. In a sequence like "The Tollund Man in Springtime" and in several poems which 'do the rounds of the district' - its known roads and rivers and trees, its familiar and unfamiliar ghosts - the gravity of memorial is transformed into the grace of recollection. With more relish and conviction than ever, Seamus Heaney maintains his trust in the obduracy of workaday realities and the mystery of everyday renewals. This new collection was initially published by Faber in hardback on 6th April 2006. It was Heaney’s first new collection for five years, and without doubt one of the publishing highlights of 2006. I have a few rare and increasingly valuable first editions left in stock. They are now priced at 50 Euro each (They have more than doubled in value since publicationl and are likely to continue to increase in value now that the paperback has been released. The US edition was published some six weeks after the UK, so these are ‘True’ Firsts! --------------------------------------- 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. 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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