IRELAND HAS PRODUCED HUNDREDS OF OUR FAVOURITE AUTHORS. IF YOU'RE YET TO DISCOVER THEIR MAGIC, HERE ARE SOME EXCELLENT PLACES TO START.
TARA ROAD, Maeve Binchy
Long hailed as one of Ireland's best authors, Tara Road is a classic novel, encompassing all of Binchy's signature warmth, humour and skill at crafting complex plots, full of diverse characters. Tara Road becomes the scene where Ria Johnson and Marilyn Vine confront and re-evaluate their different lives. A book about the interplay between escape, reality and the ties of friendship, this is an ideal introduction to Binchy's writing, and the perfect accompaniment if you are planning to relax on a hot, sunny beach this month.
THE SEA, John Banville
One of Ireland's greatest living novellists, Banville has been described as a contender for the Nobel Prize for Literature. His prose carries a considered precision which makes his work a gripping read. The Sea won the Man Booker Prize in 2005, well deserved for its treatment of memory, loss, and reconcilliation when Max Morden returns to a seaside village and is forced to confront events from a childhood holiday there. Settle down on the sofa with this book and light your favourite candle to enjoy a blissful Sunday afternoon.
THE GINGERBREAD WOMAN, Jennifer Johnston
Two strong characters are thrown together on a rainy afternoon, from there a tense friendship is formed and Johnston's sensitive treatment of their pasts. Dubbed 'the quiet woman of Irish literature', this is Johnston at her best - the flourishing of friendship and romance without sentimentality. She addresses heavy subject matter with a light tactfulness, carried in her expert prose. This is a book to take your time over, I have been enjoying an hour before bed every night, whilst burning my Rosemary, Thyme & Camphor candle.
Do you agree with our recommendations? Is there a book you think would be ideal for next month's Book Club? Let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org