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Eureka Street: A Novel Of Ireland Like No Other

4.2 of 5 stars 4.20  ·  rating details  ·  1,685 ratings  ·  145 reviews
Romantic Ireland is definitely dead and gone. With the exhilarating Eureka Street, Robert McLiam Wilson cheerfully and obscenely sends it to its grave. Jake Jackson, his thoughtful anti-hero, finds Belfast's tragedies are built on comedy: Catholics and Protestants so intent on declaring their differences "resembled no one now as much as they resembled each other…. That was ...more
Paperback, First Ballantine Edition, 396 pages
Published March 1999 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 1996)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,741)
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Lorenzo Berardi
When I was 17 I was going to accept a summer-work offer from a farmer in Londonderry.

I'm not sure to remember properly what I was supposed to pick up in Northern Ireland. Might have been cucumbers. Unfortunately at that time my knowledge of the English language was pretty low, so I thought I would have picked up watermelons (known as "cocomeri" in Italy).
And I was wondering a lot about that task. Perhaps Northern Irish watermelons were smaller than the ones growing up under the warm Mediterran
...more
Bondama
Having lived in Ireland for over 17 years, I've always made a point of reading virtually any book by either a well known or new writer from this country. Having said this, "Eureka Street" was recommended to me by a Polish friend.. (Thanks, Mac)

This book is about love - it's a love song written to the greyest, wettest, dampest, most depressing city I've ever seen. Robert Wilson McLiam was, of course, "bred and buttered" in Belfast - to use an old Irish expression. This book is set in 1996, just a
...more
Am
The title couldn't be more precise, as this is truly a depiction of contemporary Belfast that is like no other (as far as I know...). It lacks sentimentality to the point where terrorist bombings are framed by cynical love scenes. A refreshingly, humanly complex treatment of politics on an individual level.
Susan Johnson
"All stories are love stories" is the first sentence of this book. It's not a love story in the traditional sense but a delicious tribute to the city of Belfast. In Chapter 10, McClaim Wilson writes, "cities are the meeting places of stories" and that is exactly what this book is about.

Set in the mid 1990's, when the "troubles" of Norther Ireland were at a fevered pitch, Jake, a rough and tumble Catholic, and Chuckie, a fat Protestant boy with big dreams, are friends. As they grope their way t
...more
Stacy
I loved this book when I started reading it. The first half is incredibly funny (often laugh-out-loud hysterical), with a clear voice that pulls you along effortlessly. It satirizes The Troubles in Northern Ireland brilliantly. But after reaching the half-way point (chapter 11 -- a really moving stand alone story, which by itself is worth reading this book for), it goes downhill immediately. Nothing happens, the jokes become more predictable (i.e. didn't we just read all this?), and everything i ...more
Aurora
Sono stata a Belfast una sola volta, anzi due, in meno di una settimana. Era il 1997: ho visto solo il porto e la stazione.
L'impressione che ne ho ancora ora è di una città messa lì per caso, che cozza contro l'immagine di Dublino e di altre città irlandesi e nello stesso tempo che ricorda dannatamente Londra e il suo stile vittoriano.
Dovevo leggere questo libro per buttare alle ortiche quella strana e complessa sensazione, che non so neanche raccontare.
E' un libro bello, lungo, ma mai pesante,
...more
Barbara
I can't say enough about this book. There's a great review by Allan posted last week. Allan grew up in Northern Ireland and lives in Belfast. I come to this book as an outsider, but someone who has visited Northern Ireland half a dozen times, starting back during the height of The Troubles.
MacLiam Wilson, the author, loves this city and it comes through constantly in the book. And he loves the people of Belfast. This is from the last page of the book : "The mountain looks flat and grand in the
...more
Bruno
Divertente, ironico, appassionato, ma soprattutto brutale. Le aspettative che avevo accumulato da anni non sono state deluse. "Tutte le storie sono storie d'amore." E questa è la storia d'amore tra l'autore e Belfast. Il capitolo 10 è un vero inno alla città!
Paolo Gianoglio

Fino a oltre metà libro ho letto con senso di attesa. La storia stentava a decollare, e per quanto le vicende dei protagonisti fossero divertenti, non era chiaro quale fosse la direzione.
A pagina 227 inizia il capitolo forse scritto meglio di tutto il libro, tragico e al tempo stesso impregnato di amara e malinconica ironia. La vicenda collettiva della storia irlandese irrompe in un contesto che fino a quel punto era caratterizzato solo da piccole storie personali. Senza la pretesa di voler racc
...more
Rain
Tightly written, fast-paced, and compelling.

I've read numerous books involving the troubles in Northern Ireland and I am usually left feeling cold and despondent. There is nothing wrong with that as the subject is, well, it conjures up a plethora of emotions. What's different about this book is that the "troubles" rage throughout yet, for the most part, just beneath the surface. This is a human story above all else told by characters who live with the reality of war on a daily basis and the (mo
...more
Layla Bing
Eureka Street is a lot of things. It is a story about growing up. Uncharacteristic in that it's main characters are aged 30 instead of 18, it is nonetheless the story of two boys learning how to live with themselves and finding out what really matters in life. It is a story about identity in a setting in which the labels by which we identify ourselves-- Catholic, Protestant, English, Irish, liberal, conservative-- can also condemn us to death. But even more than being a story about two men growi ...more
Claire
I loved this book. I loved Jake Jackson and Chuckie Lurgan more than I've loved any other fictional characters in a while. I loved RMW's beautiful and sharp and inventive prose. I loved the story itself and the beautiful and conflicting insight into Belfast and the insider's take on sectarianism.

There is one chapter that contains much more violence (a bombing) than the rest of the novel and because of that, I was actually breathless and out of sorts for a while after I read it- not entirely bec
...more
Mary Lou
Having been high on my TBR list for quite a while, I'm now feeling a little disappointed with this book. Well written, yes, insightful, yes, amusing, yes. So what went wrong? About a third of the way in, the one liners were becoming wearisome. When I was feeling the need of a story, suddenly one emerged, but 100 pages on it was becoming tiresome too.

Or maybe I can just see myself in the '90s, just like Jake, turning off the radio when the local news bulletin came on. Fair criticism of us it is t
...more
Katherine
The author does a very good job of placing the reader right in the middle of 1990s wartorn Belfast. His book is full of memorable characters with Dickensian names who get into hilarious and sometimes tragic predicaments. A money-making scheme involving giant dildos is truly brilliant (why didn't I think of that?!?). I was riveted by (and I reread twice) the chapter describing in excrutiatingly grotesque detail the scene of a tiny sandwich shop filled with patrons that gets blown up by a 100 poun ...more
Veronica
Jake, trentenne cattolico, dal passato burrascoso e violento addolcito dalla presenza dei genitori adottivi, è uno spiantato che non sa tenersi un lavoro e una donna, senza peli sulla lingua e dal cazzotto facile.
Chuckie, grasso sfigato protestante, ha un sogno: fare una barcata di soldi. E ci riuscirà grazie alla sua stramba inventiva, dei metodi non troppo leciti e un tocco di fortuna che contribuirà a rivoluzionargli la vita.
"Eureka street", terzo romanzo di Robert McLiam Wilson, ha come tem
...more
K
Somewhere in South Belfast, Robert McLiam Wilson tells the story of a single man in his early thirties dealing with dating and segregation, poetry and war, family and violence, with the ghost of Van Morrison and the smell of cheap beer in the background. This is an ode to Belfast The Great and the music of whatever floats through your mind when the ideological fight is not what you want for your life. Poetry Street has never been closer to his lyricism.
Mark Jamison
Don't know how I stumbled upon this novel--maybe one of those pop-up recommendations from Good Reads?--but I'm really glad I did. I'm not particularly interested in Northern Ireland, but I am interested in great writing, and this is great writing. I can't remember the last time I've been so moved by the VOICE in a novel. It's impossible not to fall in love with first-person Jake.
Nicola
Being Northern Irish, I've always kept an eye out for books that are set here and have read quite a few. I'm not quite sure what I expected from this book but I know my expectations were exceeded. The Belfast in this story feels real! It feels like the Belfast I know. It captures Northern Irish politics, 'The Troubles' and the people here in a way that many other books just fail to do. The story itself is pretty basic when it's stripped down, but the characters are well written and you quickly b ...more
Angie Maniscalco


I loved this book! It was assigned reading in college and I was dreading it. Once I started, I couldn't put it down. The characters lives are so interesting....it leaves you wanting more. A great read!!
Mary Crawford
The descriptions of Belfast in the 90s was very appealing with warm memories of Laverys. I laughed out loud about Chuckie's mum. Apart from that I found this hard going with brief bits of respite.
Clara
One of my all time favourites. Gut-wrenching, laugh-out-loud, crazy, true, wonderful book.
Patricia
About Belfast in the 1990s. Beautiful descriptions, some good characters.
Summer
Oct 17, 2007 Summer rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Men who like reading
A laugh outloud story of men in Ireland. One I need to read again.
Deborah
This book is tough.

This book is perfect for people who have this glamorized idea of Northern Ireland during The Troubles. It's like when I read a thriller about 'shit goin' down in the hood', the Bronx or Harlem, I have this instant expectation and visual. I blame the media for giving me unrealistic ideas.

I can't warm to any of the characters at all, I want to punch Chuckie and I want to punch Jake too. Especially Jake, the miserable get.
And Chuckie...comparing his Mammy to a drooling slug in
...more
William Reichard
Much of Eureka Street is delightful. "Funny" is probably the first word you'd reach for in trying to describe this, and that's when it's at its best, showing how life continues even amidst terror.

The main character and oft narrator is a wisecracking hardboiled ex-bouncer with, as you quickly suspect, a soppy streak. His patter, his interdenominational friends with their politically incorrect nicknames, the settings and events...it's all very Belfast. Gallows humor alternates with Rousseau refere
...more
Touloulou
J'ai acheté ce livre parce que je voulais avoir un roman irlandais et que j'ai demandé conseil à un libraire qui a répondu à la question "pourquoi ce livre ?" "parce qu'il va changer votre vie".
C'est un roman qui fait découvrir Belfast, et l'Irlande que personnellement je n'ai pas connue, celle des unionistes et des séparatistes, l'Irlande où chaque jour des gens pouvaient mourir à cause des attentats.
On suit plusieurs personnages attachants par leur imperfection, leur humanité, leur capacité à
...more
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in October 2001.

We had just moved to London from Northern Ireland when we saw the TV adaptation of this novel; we were entranced by the way in which it seemed to encapsulate so much of the character of the country and the bitter struggle fought over it. Against an atmospheric soundtrack, a moving story full of black humour was very well acted.

Soundtrack and actors are obviously missing, but in all other ways this description holds for the original novel as we
...more
Rita Monticelli
Scroll down for the English version.

Mi è piaciuto solo a metà

Che Robert McLiam Wilson sappia scrivere bene è indubbio. Riesce a coinvolgerti completamente nella lettura. Purtroppo questo ha l'effetto di trasmetterti sia gli aspetti positivi che quelli negativi di ciò che leggi. L'immedesimazione è tale che, quando ti viene raccontato nei minimi dettagli ciò che accade ai corpi delle vittime di un attentato, la cosa ti disturba parecchio. Allo stesso modo non riesci a non considerare poco credib
...more
Elena
I joined Goodreads after a bad experience with a collection of loosely tied short stories that shall remain nameless. That book hit me over the head with a bat, kicked me in the gut, drove over me and dropped what was left in a frozen river from a tall bridge. It was a formative experience, but at the moment I hated it so much -so much- fiercely, with passion. And on top of that I thought it was pretty shitty; the proportion quality/effect it had on me was completely off. So I told myself never ...more
Caroline Mosley
This book is set in Ireland, more specifically in Belfast. This book is very unique because it is written in many different perspectives. It is written in 1st person when Jake is talking - a Catholic man with a very pathetic and quite monotone life. It is also written in 3rd person limited because for a lot of the book the author is refering to everyone in the 3rd person however focusing more on Chuckie Lurgan. Chuckie Lurgan is a protestant who is good friends with Jake. Chuckie finds odd ways ...more
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Goodreads Ireland: Spoiler Thread: Eureka Street 38 21 Sep 22, 2013 10:28AM  
Goodreads Ireland: August-October Quarterly Irish Read 2013: Eureka Street 87 42 Sep 12, 2013 02:04PM  
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Robert McLiam Wilson was born in Belfast on 24 February 1966 and studied English at St Catharine's College, Cambridge. He is the author of the novels Ripley Bogle (1989), winner of the Hughes Prize,a Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, the Irish Book Award and the Betty Trask Prize; Manfred's Pain (1992); and Eureka Street (1996), winner of the Belfast Arts Award for Literature. He is also the auth ...more
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