Yes, we’re still celebrating the release of Sheila Connolly’s Scandal in Skibbereen. What’s your favorite book by an Irish author, or one set in Ireland, at least? Any genre goes!
Edith: My neighbor Áine Greaney‘s 2011 novel Dance Lessons has to be my pick (other than Sheila’s series, of course, which I love). It’s a wonderful story of a young Irish-American Bostonian in Ireland looking for her roots, much like Sheila’s protagonist, Maura Donovan. Áine is a transplant from Ireland to Newburyport, Massachusetts. She won awards with her first novel, has a prize-winning book of short fiction out, and has also published a very useful non-fiction guide called Writer With a Day Job. I highly recommend Dance Lessons.
Jessie: I love books by John Connolly. He is Irish but sets much of his work in Maine, both around Portland and up into the woods of the vast north. Some of his books are aimed at younger readers, like The Gates. I really enjoyed the spooky, whacky humor in that one!
Barb: I think I have to go with the novels of Dennis Lehane, particularly the Kenzie and Gennaro novels set in Dorchester, MA and The Given Day about a Boston Irish family and the police strike of 1919.
Liz: Jessie and Barb, I’m with you on John Connolly and Dennis Lehane – two of my all-time favorites. Lehane’s Live by Night was amazing too, kind of a sequel to The Given Day. I also love Tana French’s books: In the Woods, The Likeness, Faithful Place. Her newest, Broken Harbor, is still in my TBR pile.
Julie: I love Irish playwrights. Eugene O’Neill. Roddy Doyle. Oscar Wilde. Not a huge Beckett fan, but he should be mentioned. And there are many Irish writers, including Maeve Binchy. As I said before, I love the tendency towards lyrical darkness mixed with humor.
Readers: Your favorite Irish-flavored read?