Rich in its literary traditions, Ireland continues even today to both produce and inspire some of the best writing in the world. Writing for The Boston Globe, Katharine Whittemore, a proud Irish-American, names her top three newly released Irish books for your reading pleasure this St. Patrick’s Day season.
1. ‘On an Irish Island’ by Robert Kanigel (2012)
The title of this book references the Great Blasket Islands off the Western coast of County Kerry. Kanigel builds upon the previous work from authors John Millington Synge, Dylan Thomas and E.M. Forster and in turn creates a “bookish pedigree” before adding his own story to the mix.
Kanigel followed and interviewed groups of foreign linguists who camped out on the Islands in the 1920s and 1930s while they attempted to “transcribe a dying (and now remarkably revived) tongue.”
2. “The Story of Ireland: A History of the Irish People’’ by Neil Hegarty (2012)
What Whittemore tags as a “prime starter kit,” this history is the book companion to the recent and popular BBC series that examined the history of Ireland. The book reaches as far back as 433 BC up until 2010, when Ireland was in the grips of the burst Celtic Tiger. A must for an Irish history enthusiast.
3. ‘Mistaken’ by Neil Jordan (2011)
Having won the Irish Book Awards’ best book of the year for 2011, it’s no doubt that ‘Mistaken’ is a must-read. Penned by Neil Jordan, who was also the filmmaker for 1992’s ‘The Crying Game,’ this literary feat spins the tale of two Dubliners who share an uncanny similarity in appearance which often leads them to be mistaken for each other, a situation that grows increasingly dangerous.