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Irish March

Longtime readers of this space may recall that every March I read nothing but Irish fiction. This year I got an early start on Irish March, cracking open William Trevor's Fools of Fortune early this past Saturday morning. I've owned the book for several years after Julie picked it up for me in a used bookstore in Chicago, but I'm only just now diving in. Trevor is in typically marvelous form, quickly immersing me into Anglo-Irish gentry life during the time of the Troubles. Interestingly, despite their wealth and partially English heritage, the Quintons are sympathetic to the republican cause, which quite tragically does them no favors with the royalists.

In the past Irish March has been an admittedly mixed bag. So far I've tackled James Joyce's Dubliners (very good) and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (very maddening), with my frustrations over the latter negating any possible desire to read Ulysses. I've thoroughly enjoyed Trevor's Death in Summer (though I must admit I remember almost none of the plot), John McGahern's debut The Barracks (which is prodding me to read his acclaimed Amongst Women this year) and a re-reading of Samuel Beckett's Waiting For Godot, which was every bit as wonderful as when I first read it during high school. At the other end of the scale, considerably less enjoyable have been Patrick McCabe's Winterwood (interesting premise, but poorly executed) and Flann O'Brien's The Third Policeman (whose hype will forever puzzle me).

Both the Trevor and McGahern books are fairly short, so even with my typically slow reading pace I think I'll be able to fit in a third title this year. Any suggestions you might have are greatly welcomed - my only requirements are that the author be ethnically Irish and the book either be set in Ireland or be dominated by Irish characters.

March 1, 2010 in Books | Permalink