By Christina McKenna
There are few things more worth your time than spending some of it in the company of an Irish woman from the north. In McKenna’s new novel – a sequel to her debut "The Misremembered Man" – we catch up with her heroine Bessie Halstone as she flees Belfast after being wrongly accused of stealing $10,000.
The loot is from a heist carried out by her late and un-mourned husband Packie, but it’s not the reason she’s bolted. Bessie desperately needs to make a new start, and that means moving far from the endless conflict that is engulfing her society.
But wouldn’t you know it, her car breaks down leaving her stranded and in need of a job when the opportunity to become a housekeeper for an ostentatiously handsome priest presents itself.
McKenna knows and mines the fault lines lurking just beneath the surface of any Irish town with a rare degree of subtlety. Her book is a hilarious and harrowing exploration of Irish life and a better than the original sequel.
20 Things to Do In Dublin Before You Go for a Fecking’ Pint
By Colin Murphy and Donal O’Dea
This is a guidebook written by local hipsters for visiting hipsters. It’s that simple and that engaging.
Writers Murphy and O’Dea have a deep grasp of Dublin’s history and culture, but they’re also really good on the diverting weirdness of some of its most colorful characters.
Entertainingly written and immensely knowledgeable about the lives and haunts of the famous Irish writers that once made their homes there, the book also provides a handy guide to social and political fabric of the city.
Ireland’s long history of conflict can still be seen in many of the walls and rooftops, and Murphy and O’Dea tell you where to look to find vivid echoes of the uprisings and wars that created the Republic.
Immerse yourself in the local color before you immerse yourself in the local alcohol, say the authors, who have written a seriously funny and seriously factual tourist guide that won’t, they promise in the local parlance, bore the arse off you.
The Irish American Experience in New Jersey and Metropolitan New York
Edited by Marta Mestrovic Deyrup and Maura Grace Harrington
This study began as a series of lectures at Seton Hall University and is now presented a series of essays on aspects of Irish American life in the five boroughs of New York and New Jersey.
What it reminds us is that there are as many – perhaps more – ways to be Irish American as there are ways to be Irish. Ethnic identity becomes a building block or foundation stone for a remarkably various cultural experience.
Scholars, historians, archivists, journalists and theologians all share their perspectives on the contributions of Irish Americans to national life in an interdisciplinary study that’s often as provocative as it is wise.
Historically not everyone celebrated our arrival to these shores and yet few areas of American life have been left untouched by our presence. The squabble over who we are and what we represent is not confined to our admirers or detractors; it’s an in-house, ongoing debate as these essays show.
Ireland’s Western Isles: Inishbofin, the Aran Islands, Inishturk, Inishark, Clare and Turbot Islands
By John Carlos
If you go looking for the soul of Ireland you could take a detour toward the west. In a landscape that’s half Eden and half Moon, the forces of nature and humanity have a landscape and a people like no other.
In evocative black and white photographer John Carlos, a former staff photographer for The Sunday Tribune and The Sunday Times, has captured his native west as few others have.
People in his portraits often look like they could be part of the landscape. The lined faces he often favors look like they belong to their home place in an implicating way that is utterly arresting. Births, celebrations, harvests and funerals are all captured by his lens, in studies so poetic that they can take your breath away.
Some of these pictures portray a way of life that is vanishing even as it’s being captured on film. The era of Twitter and Facebook live uneasily beside the ancient time that Carlos has captured in this luminous study.
Dufour, $38.ooks at Books logo