Books to read for a trip to Ireland

We’re going to Ireland again, so it’s time for another Irish reading list.

So what’s on my reading list? I don’t have all that much time, so it’s fairly short. 

Modern Ireland: A Very Short Introduction. You won’t find anything here about the Celtic tiger or the financial crisis. By “modern,” they mean from about1800 to 1992, with a heavy emphasis on before 1922. Got that? Instead, this is mostly a history of how Ireland won its independence from Great Britain. If you’ve watched “Downton Abbey,” this is the kind of book that would give you great insight into the world of Tom Branson, the “very political” driver. 

The Forgotten Waltz, by Anne Enright. This is a contemporary novel, the story of an affair. Enright won the Booker Prize for a novel about a family confronting the suicide of an  adult son. Her writing is supposed to be fabulous. 

Mothers and Sons, by Colm Toibin. This choice is much more difficult, I’ve been wanting to read something by Toibin for years. “The Master“— probably his best-known work — is a fictionalized portrait of the American novelist Henry James. Toibin’s novel “Brooklyn,” is about an Irish girl arriving in the States in the 1950s; it also got excellent reviews. His newest work is a set of essays called “New Ways to Kill your Mother,” in which he contemplates literature and family. But I will probably go with “Mothers and Sons” because it’s about (relatively) contemporary Ireland and also for a more mundane reason — I have it on my bookshelf. 

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