Twenty Irish novels to read before you die

Title: Twenty Irish novels to read before you die


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The Internet, Online, 6/11/2015

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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.

6. Oscar Wilde – “Importance of Being Earnest” (1895)

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.

7.  Jonathan Swift – “Gulliver’s Travels” (1726)

“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)

This classic initially failed to find a publisher. The author withdrew the manuscript from circulation and claimed he had lost it. The book remained unpublished until his death in 1966. It then found a massive cult following.

9. Bram Stoker – “Dracula” (1897)

Dracula has been assigned to many literary genres including vampire literature, horror fiction, the gothic novel and invasion literature. Stoker did not invent the vampire, the novel’s influence on the popularity of vampires has been singularly responsible for many theatrical, film and television interpretations since its publication.

10. John Banville – “The Book of Evidence” (1988)

The book is narrated by Freddie Montgomery, a 38-year-old scientist, who murders a servant girl during an attempt to steal a painting from a neighbor. Freddie is an aimless drifter, and though he is a perceptive observer of himself and his surroundings, he is largely amoral.

11. Patrick McCabe – “The Butcher Boy” (1992)

The Butcher Boy is set in a small town in Ireland in the late 1950s. It tells the story of Francis ‘Francie’ Brady, a schoolboy who retreats into a violent fantasy world as his troubled home life collapses.

12. James Plunkett “Strumpet City” (1969)

“Strumpet City” is a historical novel by James Plunkett set in Dublin at the time of the Dublin Lock-out. The novel is an epic, tracing the lives of a dozen characters as they are swept up in the tumultuous events that affected Dublin between 1907 and 1914.

13. C. S. Lewis – “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” (1950)

This is the first-published book of The Chronicles of Narnia and is the best known book of the series.

Although it was written and published first, it is second in the series’ internal chronological order, after The Magician’s Nephew. Time magazine included the novel in its TIME 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005. It has also been published in 47 foreign languages.

14. Edna O’Brien – “The Country Girls” (1960) ………………..

15. Samuel Beckett – “Molloy” (1951) ………………….

16. Patrick Kavanagh – “Tarry Flynn” (1948) ………………..

17. Brian Moore – “Judith Hearne” (1955) ………………..

18. Elizabeth Bowen – “The Last September” (1929) …………….

19. Lawrence Sterne – “Tristram Shandy” (1760)……………..

20. Jennifer Johnston – “How Many Miles to Babylon?” (1974)…………….

read the rest online ………………….


About Author Annette J Dunlea Irish Writer

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