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Broken Irish

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  185 ratings  ·  48 reviews

“Epic in its scope but relentlessly compelling in its storytelling—not a common combination—Broken Irish is a splendidly readable and richly textured novel. Edward J. Delaney is an enormously gifted writer.” —ROBERT OLEN BUTLER

"In Edward J. Delaney's South Boston little is lost, nothing forgotten. Old sins, old wounds haunt his characters, young and old, and reverberate

Paperback, 416 pages
Published September 6th 2011 by Turtle Point Press (first published September 1st 2011)
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(showing 1-30 of 387)
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Rebecca Burke
Nov 30, 2011 Rebecca Burke rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who like literary fiction, Irish-American fiction, fiction about social / political themes
Loved the writing--masterful. Good pace. Appreciated the way the book was broken up into the stories of representative characters from South Boston--priest, young toughs, single mom, et al. Fantastic handling of dialogue, which always sounded authentic despite including a broad range of types and ages.

At the end of the day, however, this story has been told in many other books and movies. From the priest who couldn't keep his hands off little boys to the alcoholic writer, to the tycoon who "esc
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This novel, as dark as Mystic River and with similar themes, is disturbing because it is so believable. Many of its threads are not neatly tied off, that is frustrating but also part of the realism.
Nicolas Shump
Delaney is certainly a talented writer. The jacket talks about his short story collections and a few prizes he has won, but I think this is his first novel. I would recommend this novel for someone who is looking for a compelling narrative, but is also unafraid of a book with literary trappings. The novel is set in South Boston, or Southie, as it is affectionately known. It involves a group of approximately a half dozen characters whose stories do occasionally intersect and with one or two of th ...more
Richard Wise
Delaney's book tells the dark tale of five Irish Americans who are growing or have grown up in South Boston.

known as "Southie" to most Bostonians. South Boston first came to prominence in the school busing crisis made the news in the mid-Seventies when Judge Garrity ordered busing to achieve racial balance and the Irish residents exploded in anger. Home of Louise Day Hicks and Whitey Bolger, Southie has a well deserved reputation as the last stronghold of the Boston Irish.

Almost a fictional ethn
*Really 3.5 stars.

“There is the circus of pans and burners, of smoke and sputter” (25).
“…the receptionist watches him with the wariness of someone who still cannot pinpoint the problem she knows is hanging in the air” (37).
“Jimmy expects that Rafferty only has to interact with the climate’s vicissitudes on a country-club fairway or the deck of a yacht, which is hardly the same” (47).
“…a man shaped like a mountain with the fat foothills of his hips and stomach rising up humped shoulders…” (52).
oooh....another book about whitey ! Okay, not about Whitey after all. The book takes place in the late 90's after Whitey went on the lam. He does get a mention here and there but this is basically a post-Whitey Bulger South Boston. Of course, it's the same old Southie, just with different bad guys. Young teens struggling to escape the life they see ahead of them. Parents unable to manage these same kids, wondering where they went wrong.The Catholic church falling apart. Cops and teamsters exerti ...more
For me this is more of a 2.5 interesting read but an unfinished story. Also, it bothered me that the author used the word "affect" so often.
A snapshot into a period of time in the lives of several people from South Boston. There are four alternating story lines which have common threads running throughout. Each character deals with a personal demon which has in some way been amplified by the abuses of the Catholic Church, the Irish gang influence of the area and the struggles of growing up a "Southie". This is not a fun, uplifting story, but a grim portrait of an actual place and a deeply provocative look at the people who live and ...more
Barbara Gavin
Great story telling!
Colleen Veard
A good book that weaves several characters together . I liked the way things were always right in front of you but there connection not always clear ,when suddenly you would get the sad "aha" moment of understanding. Not a likable character among them but an excellent snapshot of a time and place . A book that stays with you after you're finished. I may have given it 3 1/2 stars if possible.
The title is appropriate. I was drawn to it because of the Irish element and the setting in south Boston. Several times I decided not to finish, but slogged on, hoping for some light at the end of the tunnel. As the story unfolded the tragedies compounded. It was frustrating and terribly sad. Powerful, but I won't be reading anything else by this author.
Stephen Mark
A lot of dramatic things happen in this story but it never strays from being a literary rather than a sensational outing. We get to know a slice of south boston through its characters' wins and losses, including some tawdry misadventures, but the focus is on the working class people themselves, and you come away feeling elevated.
Set in Boston in the late 1990s; readers of *Mystic River* might enjoy it. Ordinary lives collide; characters run away from home, sobriety, truth, memory.


... secrets do not fully die but, rather, remain embedded more deeply than one can fully comprehend. The inextinguishable flame of memory.

Mara S
Liked this, especially since I'm at school in Boston- was pretty cool to be able to visualize different things. Only issue I had was with the ending. . . felt like there were a few loose ends. There were many different stories blending into one, and I loved the way the story came together- very very neat!!
A couple of the other reviewers nailed it: interesting plot, great dialog, sympathetic characters but the ending -- well, there really ISN'T an ending. It's like the author just threw in the towel after a certain number of pages. It was the novelistic equivalent of the TV show "The Killing."
This book is about a working class single mom, an alcoholic, a wealthy entrepreneur, a Catholic priest, and a few runaway teens... and how their lives are intertwined in South Boston in the 1950's. It has a page-turning plot, and it is very very well written.
Rebecca Meyers
Enjoyed the different characters, each one having their own short chapter. I liked following their stories, and only hearing a little bit about them at the time. Although I loved the book, I did not think it was a strong ending.
The first chapter sounded how wow this is going to be a good book.Than as the story goes on its still good, but at the end the story felt unfinshed.Very sad in some momments.I won't be reading anything else by this author.
Mary Kay
Set in the Boston environs of Southie, this book tells a story of an alcoholic writer, a 15-year-old runaway Internet porn "star", a nasty priest, his 13-year-old victim, & a completely unlikeable businessman.
Lisa Wakefield
Powerful, and bleak, with desperately sad characters in search of redemption. The writing pulls you through and drags you down in to their sadness. Reminded me of David Adams Richards.
Much to love about this book. But it's all very bleak. Short chapters from the perspective of 7 different characters who turn out in the end to all be connected.
This book is well written, but has nothing good in it. Seriously. I felt like I just read Leaving Las Vegas - all sorrow and depression. Well written, but not fun.
A brutal and somewhat haunting tale that gives dark insights into the violence of poverty in South Boston. Not a good late night read unless you like disturbing dreams!
I loved this book...right up to end. After a thoughtful and intelligent story, written beautifully, the author left me with too many unanswered questions.
Delaney is quite the writer! He did a remarkable job developing his characters. Just wish there was more of an ending and/or closure.
would have given this five stars, if it had an ending....but really enjoyed. perfectly captured the time and place. compelling characters
This man is an amazing story teller. The book was so well written. The story is heart breaking. A very good book.
An interesting read, but I'm not sure how much traction it would get out of the local Boston market.
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