Thomas Lynch's latest book (now out in paperback) takes a close look at the complicated relationship between the Irish and Irish America. In "Booking Passage: We Irish and Americans" Lynch writes of his initial visits to Ireland in 1970 to meet family in west Clare. Slowly but surely, Lynch learns as much from his Irish family (who at first seem hopelessly stuck in the past) as they learn from him. Lynch combines family history with thoughts about the Catholic Church, alcoholism, and his own marital problems. "Booking Passage" is Lynch's follow-up to his National Book Award finalist "The Undertaking" as well as "Bodies in Motion and at Rest." Lynch, who has written for The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Harper's, Esquire, Newsweek and The Irish Times, has also published three collections of poetry. That is evident in some of the lush, precise descriptions in "Booking Passage." ($14.95 paperback / 296 pages / W.W. Norton)