Looks at Books - New books reviewed for your consideration
Posted on Wednesday, April 04, 2012 at 07:51 AM
- In twilight years and refusing to go quietly - 'These Halcyon Days' at The Irish Arts Center - VIDEO
- A look at books: Ireland’s growing cadre of first rate thrillers and personal essays of home
- There’s something about Mary - controversial play 'The Testament of Mary' wins Tony nod before closing early
- Review - “The Testament of Mary” and “The Nance” welcome Broadway additions
- A look at books - the Magdalene Laundries, Reverend Ian Paisley and the Irish Diaspora
Edited By Emily Firetog and Declan Meade
FOURTH year, or transition year as its also known, is the much beloved year bookended by two fearful exams in the Irish school system. For students it’s the year when you can relax a bit and begin to discover your teenage identity finally. If you’re lucky it’ll be one of the happiest of your life too.
In Fighting Tuesdays the Stinging Fly Press invited students in that age bracket to submit original short stories, 24 of which have been selected for this book.
What makes this one worth your time is the remarkable sophistication in evidence in these pages. These stories aren’t just powerful; they’re a timely portrait of modern Ireland.
Spanning the great themes of friendship, love, bullying, drugs, alcohol, football and finding yourself, the humor and the dialogue crackle with the fierce urgency of youth itself.
By Julieann Campbell
IT took 18 years and 28 families to uncover the truth of what happened on Bloody Sunday, that lamentable day that changed the course of history in the North, but the sheer injustice of those 14 shocking killings would provide their inspiration in years to come.
United by their grief and outrage over the killings these families, who were in the beginning mostly strangers to each other, met and started a campaign for a new investigation into the shootings and for the exoneration of the victims.
Derry woman Julieann Campbell is the niece of the youngest victim, Jackie Duddy. A journalist and award winning poet, she was press officer for the Bloody Sunday families and saw their struggle from the inside, resulting in one of the most illuminating portraits of the campaign yet written.
It took almost two decades, but that determined campaign ended with Lord Saville’s historic report that found the British Army’s actions on the day “unjustified” and “unjustifiable.” Campbell’s book is a testament to their unflagging courage, but it reminds us too that what motivated them most was love.
By Arlene Hunt
Irish writer Arlene Hunt makes the business of crafting a terrific new thriller look easy. Her latest introduces us to Jessie Conway, a hard working teacher at a local high school who unwittingly becomes the target of a serial killer.
Brilliantly crafted from the beginning, Hunt makes her heroine likeable and tough, which makes what happens next all the more involving. Psychotic killers are no match for the power of love and hope and so Hunt sets the stage for a showdown that is as riveting as it is believable.
There’s a cinematic sweep to Hunt’s work that suggests a bidding war may be in her future, but in the meantime you should acquaint yourself with one of the most interesting new voices to have emerged in thrillers in recent years.
By Brian Kennedy
IN 1921 the Irish weren’t just founding the Republic they were founding a national football team. Ninety-one years on that league is still going strong.
Forty-seven teams have comprised the League, and each has produced its own storied history. Ireland has always produced a surplus of eccentric characters, local color and victories against all the odds and this handsomely illustrated book is a time capsule that brings the fondest hopes of generations of players and fans back to life.
By Joe Murphy
WHAT could be more Irish than the tale of a family shattered by divided loyalties? In this case it’s the tragic generation of 1798 when that all out and disastrous rebellion tears at the national fabric, with consequences that will be felt for centuries.
Joe Murphy’s enthusiasm for the period and for the men and women who lived and died during it leaps off every page of his new novel, a swashbuckling romance filled with last stands and epic battles.
Tragically the fight against the rapidly growing British Empire is as nothing against the internal squabbles that erupt between the United Irishmen and the Loyalists and Murphy reminds us that the enemies within are often the bitterest we will ever encounter.