Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Some Summer Reading

When I comes to Ireland, I reads Irish books:

I Predict A Riot, Bateman (2007)

Hilarious black comedy set in post-Troubles Belfast somehow ties together food poisoning, high fashion, racketeering, murder, and the perils (and rewards) of on-line dating. Paced at breakneck speed, Riot combines the wit of Carl Hiaasen with the hyperactivity of a Preston Sturges screwball comedy into a eventfully convoluted narrative that will keep you up late turning page after page until it resolves itself. Highly recommended...


The Irish Game: A True Story of Crime and Art, Matthew Hart (2005)

On the night of May 17, 1986, Dublin gangster Martin Cahill masterminded an art theft from a prominent Irish private collection. The theft included one of the world’s few Vermeers in private hands. It took until 1993 to recover the Vermeer and the other paintings, and in the end required the international cooperation of the police forces of four countries. The recovery of the Vermeer hastened Cahill’s downfall and occasioned a discovery that changed the art world’s perception of the great Dutch master’s work. Writing in terse, journalistic prose, Cahill examines other art thefts and shows how stolen has become collateral in the international drug trade. Recommended...


Heaven Lies About Us, Eugene McCabe (2006)

This uneven but rewarding collection is at its best in the two series of related stories that describe the Troubles from the Protestant perspective. McCabe unstintingly relates the bigotry at the core of anti-Catholicism while retaining sympathy for the apolitical people whose find their lives turned upside down. In spite of themselves, they find themselves looking at harmless Catholic neighbors through a prism of suspicion. Worse, they live in an environment that demands that they choose sides whether they want to or not. Recommended...


Redemption, Francis Stuart (1949)

Ezra Arrigho, a spiritually beaten man, returns to his native Ireland after sitting out World War II in Germany. As he begins to take part in the social life of a small town near Dublin, Ezra begins to articulate the forces that have robbed his life of meaning. Just when it seems that he has turned a corner, a brutal crime forces him to confront some his most deeply held convictions (which aren’t what you might think they’d be). As in the brilliant Black List, Section H, Stuart challenges us to reexamine our own closely held assumptions – this time regarding the nature of crime and punishment -- no matter how certain or banal they might seem. Difficult, demanding, and uncomfortable, Redemption represents the one-of-a-kind Stuart at his best. Highly recommended...


Dancing With Demons, Peter Tremayne (2007)

Tremayne’s series about a lawyer and religious called up to solve crimes in 7th C. Ireland has gained an international following. In this one, Sister Fidelma investigates the events leading up to an actual historic crime, the assassination of High King Sechnussach. As always, things aren’t what they seem and as always we get a history lesson on the doings of medieval Ireland, which Tremayne views as relatively advanced culture. The ending is a bit fussy with Agatha Christie-type doings, but fans of the genre will like this just fine. Recommended...

Overheard today: "If you've come to Ireland, it's for reasons other than the weather"...

There's one kind favor I'll ask of you: See that my grave is kept clean...

Premium T.'s summer reading list is here...

Clifton Harris, who writes the excellent blog Cliff's Crib and who contributes to Just A Song, describes the perfect mayor for New Orleans here...

2 comments:

Foxessa said...

We were discussing last night whether Vaquero should run for mayor of NO.

He doesn't want to. But there's no one qualified currently running.

Love, C.

Renegade Eye said...

Too bad The Reconstruction Party, didn't last in NO. It had a good program post Katrina.

You don't think of Irish books, outside of classics much.