Ireland, considering its size, has produced a disproportionately large amount of world renowned writers. From Joyce to Wilde and McGahern and Stoker here's IrishCentral's list of the top 20 Irish novels you should read before you die.
1. James Joyce - "Ulysses" (1922)
"Ulysses" was first serialized in parts in the American journal The Little Review from March 1918 to December 1920. It has been called one of the most important works of Modernist literature.
The novel chronicles the passage of Leopold Bloom through Dublin during an ordinary day, 16 June 1904.
2. Oscar Wilde - "The Picture of Dorian Gray" (1890)
This is the only published novel by Oscar Wilde. It first appeared as the lead story in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine on 20 June 1890, printed as the July 1890 issue of this magazine.
The novel tells of a young man named Dorian Gray, the subject of a painting by artist Basil Hallward. Basil is impressed by Dorian's beauty and becomes infatuated with him, believing his beauty is responsible for a new mode in his art. Dorian meets Lord Henry Wotton, a friend of Basil's, and becomes enthralled by Lord Henry's world view. The Picture of Dorian Gray is considered a work of classic gothic horror fiction with a strong Faustian theme.
3. James Joyce - "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" (1916)
This semi-autobiographical novel describes the formative years of the life of Stephen Dedalus, a fictional alter ego of Joyce and an allusion to the consummate craftsman of Greek mythology, Daedalus.
4. John McGahern - "Amongst Women" (1990)
"Amongst Women" tells the story of Michael Moran, a bitter, ageing Irish Republican Army (IRA) veteran, and his tyranny over his wife and children, who both love and fear him. It is considered McGahern's masterpiece.
5. Flann O'Brien - "At Swim Two Birds" (1939)
At Swim-Two-Birds is a 1939 novel by Irish author Brian O'Nolan, writing under the pseudonym Flann O'Brien. It is widely considered to be one of the most sophisticated examples of meta-fiction. The novel was included in TIME magazine's list of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005. It is now being made into a feature film by Brendan Gleeson.
Although this one isn't a novel it's certainly one of the best told stories with some of the quickest most brilliant one-liners. "The Importance of being Earnest, A Trivial Comedy for Serious People" was first performed on 14 February 1895 at St. James's Theatre in London, it is a farcical comedy in which the protagonists maintain fictitious personae in order to escape burdensome obligations.
"Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, in Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of Several Ships", better known simply as "Gulliver's Travels", is a novel by Irish writer and clergyman Jonathan Swift that is both a satire on human nature and a parody of the "travellers' tales" literary sub-genre.
8. Flann O'Brien - "The Third Policeman" (1967)
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