145th out of 376 books — 440 voters
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Best Irish Literature
Books That Quote or Reference Other Works In The Title
108th out of 227 books — 58 voters
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Some of Jennifer Johnston's novels are short (this, her first, is 124 pages, her third, The Captains and the Kings is 156 pages and The Christmas Tree my favourite of all her novels, is 183 pages. The books seem slight just because they are thin, but they contain whole worlds that last for far longer in the mind and in the heart than their relatively few pages might suggest. And the lyrical beauty of Johnston's writing seems so natural it reminds me of Fred Astaire's: 'If it doesn't look simple...more
This plot has basic similarities with Bernard McLaverty's Lamb, and these similarities are made especially intense by what we know of child abuses in Irish history. In Johnston's novel, an old man becomes very involved in the life of a boy who is a trouble to his family, who skips school, who doesn't want to be a shop boy. The boy and the man develop a strong bond, which is, of course, misunderstood (sometimes willfully, certainly spitefully) by the boy's parents and others in the village. Where...more
A beautifully written, deeply moving novel that tells us of the consequences or uninformed prejudice. The main character, Mr Prendergast, has made innumerable mistakes in his personal relationships. Cold, dismissive, and torn by jealousy of a brighter brother who had the love of his beautiful mother, Mr Prendergast keeps the world at arm's length. That is until in his twilight years, a cheeky urchin marches into his life and endears himself to the old man. But his gardener, a drunken, mean man w...more