Saturday, 17 January 2015

Irish Fiction Memories - #IrishFictionFortnight - Day 2


DAY 2 

As part of all things Irish Fiction related,  I put a shout out for some of your memories related to Irish books.  What were your favourites?  Who was your first adult Irish fiction author?  Have you a specific genre you buy?  This challenge is fun!  There are a lot of similarities in the book loving world.  It doesn't even seem to matter what age bracket you are in.  We all loved Maeve Binchy, for example.  She is now on the Leaving Cert syllabus with 'Circle of Friends'.  How lucky are those teenagers?  We had english 'classics', which we had to read aloud.  While I love the odd classic now, it was torture listening to classmates reading Dickens, et al, in a flat monotone voice!

Here are some memories from followers:

From blogger, Celeste McCreesh of, has chosen a book that is still a bestseller today...

For me the first Irish fiction book I read  when I was a teenager and got me on the path for my love of reading was  Under the Hawthorn Tree which is a children's historical novel by Marita Conlon-McKenna.  The novel tells the story of three siblings, Eily, Michael and Peggy O'Driscoll, who live in a small cottage in rural Ireland. At the opening of the book, in 1845, blight strikes the family potato plot. Their baby sister Bridget dies and is buried under the hawthorn tree in the garden: in Irish mythology, the hawthorn is linked with the otherworld. Their father goes to find work, and when he does not return for several days, their mother leaves to find him. After some time, the children accept that both are dead and take an arduous journey to their great-aunts' home hundreds of miles away. This was the first in her Children of the Famine trilogy set at the time of the Great Famine in Ireland. It was first published by the O'Brien Press in May 1990.  

For me this book always reminds me of been a kid and can still visualise me sitting in my bedroom reading this along with the rest of the trilogy.  Since then I've gone on to read so many excellent novels/series by Irish authors over the years.  I also try to get to as many book launches as I can involving Irish authors too, to support them by been there, buying their book, reading & reviewing it.  I'd even go as far to say that I've met some really lovely people along the way who I've become friends with.


Author, Margaret Scott, took the 1990s challenge and remembers a classic from Deirdre Purcell...

“Every second of that summer hammered a spike into my memory”
is the opening line of Deirdre Purcell’s Love Like Hate Adore, a book that hammered its own spike into my memory after I first read it some fifteen years ago. So when asked to think about a book from the 1990’s, it’s no surprise that this sprang to mind. I’ve just noticed that it was first published in 1997, the same year as Marian Keye’s Rachel’s Holiday, which is for me, another fine example of how Contemporary Women’s Fiction can not only have a dark side, but possess in parallel a humour to pepper that darkness and relieve the bleaker aspect of the story. And let’s face it, the storyline of Love Like Hate Adore is bleak – told from the perspective of Angela Devine about the summer her younger brother is accused of rape. I think what appealed to me, was not only that Deirdre Purcell’s voice bridges that gap between humour and grief beautifully, but also the way the story shows a different angle on such an awful situation. I always find books that explore ‘the story behind the headlines’ fascinating and this was no exception. After finishing this I went on to read Entertaining Ambrose, another of Purcell’s darker books and in itself may even have been better, with a similar take on a family crisis. But for me Love Like Hate Adore remains the book that first showed me the potential that contemporary women’s fiction can reach, in the right hands.


All the way from The Netherlands, Suzanne from has joined in and it's not even her first language! 

My love for Irish fiction started with Cathy Kelly. She's quite popular in the Netherlands and I've read several translations of her books. I've also read a few of Maeve Binchy's books, also translated. I'm so happy I can read them in their original language now.


If you want to share your #IrishFiction memory or favourite book/author, use the contact form on the right.  You can also tweet pics @MargaretBMadden using #IrishFictionFortnight and all photos will be entered in to draws for spot prizes (little Irish goodies).

There were be lots more happening over the next fortnight, so keep checking back for recommended reads, giveaways and memories...

1 comment:

  1. I will do this on the lap top tomorrow. Love Irish theme books x


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