James Lawless

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James Lawless

Goodreads Author

Dublin, Ireland




Member Since
April 2010


James Lawless is an Irish novelist, short story writer and poet who was born in Dublin. He is an arts graduate in Spanish and Irish of University College Dublin and has an MA in Communications from Dublin City University.

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Average rating: 4.18 · 122 ratings · 64 reviews · 28 distinct worksSimilar authors
For Love of Anna

4.38 avg rating — 24 ratings9 editions
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The Avenue

4.17 avg rating — 23 ratings9 editions
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Peeling Oranges

4.14 avg rating — 21 ratings — published 2007 — 8 editions
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Knowing Women

4.26 avg rating — 23 ratings6 editions
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The Adventures of Jo Jo

4.33 avg rating — 9 ratings3 editions
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American Doll

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Finding Penelope

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really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 2 ratings2 editions
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Noise & Sound Reflections

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A Prostitute's Tale

it was amazing 5.00 avg rating — 1 rating2 editions
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The Weight of Love

Hilary Fannin



When Robin Wolfe, an Irishman teaching in a comprehensive school in Clerkenwell in London in 1995, meets Special Needs Assistant Ruth Lennon, he becomes immediately infatuated with her. Ruth however is more tentative towards him. But, when Robin introduces her to his erratic and artistic boyhood friend Joseph Kazargazof, Ruth embarks on a

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Published on September 14, 2020 09:47

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The Weight of Love
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When Robin Wolfe, an Irishman teaching in a comprehensive school in Clerkenwell in London in 1995, meets Special Needs Assistant Ruth Lennon, he becomes immediately infatuated with her. Ruth however is more tentative towards him. But, when Robin intr ...more
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H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
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Tales from the Cuban Empire by Antonio José Ponte
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Poems of Arab Andalusia by Cola Franzen
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A book to savour
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Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
"I think this is the 3rd or 4th time I have read this book!"
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The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio
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A timely book worth rereading.
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The Farm by George Benda
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The Butchers' Blessing by Ruth Gilligan
The Butchers' Blessing
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The happenings in this novel occur in an Ireland of 1996 with a rather disjointed fast forward towards the end to a photographic exhibition in New York in 2018 which exhibits a gruesome murder. One needs to buy into the premise of this story to make ...more
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“My own philosophy is life is not what you make it, but what you make of itl”
James Lawless

“My own philosophy is life is not what you make it, but what you make of it”
― James Lawless”
James Lawless

“Glance is the enemy of vision.”
Ezra Pound

“Everybody has a secret world inside of them. I mean everybody. All of the people in the whole world, I mean everybody — no matter how dull and boring they are on the outside. Inside them they've all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds... Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands, maybe.”
Neil Gaiman, A Game of You

“Look at everything always as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time: Thus is your time on earth filled with glory.”
Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

“You may be poor, but the one thing nobody can take away from you is the freedom to fuck up your life whatever way you want to.”
Jonathan Franzen, Freedom

“Books are not made to be believed, but to be subjected to inquiry. When we consider a book, we mustn't ask ourselves what it says but what it means...”
Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose

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message 15: by James

James Lawless AnotherPeeling Oranges five star review of Peeling Oranges by Snjezana Marinkovic

Painted in descriptive language and spoken with a rich poetic voice, Peeling Oranges offers a storyline that is smooth, realistic, romantic and full of drama and mystery. The pages are filled with an honest style of writing which is accompanied by important historic events that make the read even more interesting and engaging.

The interactions between the characters are presented in a creative yet down-to-earth way. It is so easy to become emotionally involved with Derek, the main protagonist of the story who has to cope with a myriad of obstacles over the course of his search for two most desirable things in life: the ultimate truth and love. The author accurately describes this journey as “a higher truth, a poetic truth, a verisimilitude which strips away the bare facts which sometime can overpower us and blind us in our vision.” On his path to discovery Derek brings to light his family secrets and at the same time peels the layers of a Spanish and Irish turbulent history. He also needs to cross the long bridge from a beautiful ideology to an unwanted realization—is Sinéad, the love of his life, a woman he really wants and trusts? After all, can he be close to anyone or believe in anything? Yet nothing but diaries from the past have answers to his concerns and time-consuming doubts.

What especially amazed me was the re-readability of this story - when I looked back at a few chapters I found additional meaning from author’s daring and symbolic style. This book has everything: drama, suspense, action, tragedy, romance, and much more. I highly recommend it.

message 14: by James

James Lawless 'Unless you’re a terribly bad writer, you are never going to have too many readers.' Andrew Wylie

message 12: by James

James Lawless Dreaming My Animal Selves
Hélène Cardona
Salmon Poetry

Hélène Cardona's poetry is full of wonder and, like all good poetry, is not bound by conventional rules of language or logic, but free as in dreams. Reading Hélène, one feels the fetters of mundane living loosening. Like Lorca, she traces oneiric patterns and pursues elusive sleep 'in the hope to heal mishaps /the last chance to anchor my boat'. She explores her different selves, seeking constantly and trying to root: 'I too swim in concentric circles/to find the resonance of my core', her pursuit ever moving towards oneness and her desired harmony with the cosmos. To achieve this end she is prepared to transmogrify herself, to be different animals where she believes we are all potential chameleons of imaginative possibility and through the domain of dreams she longs to widen and illuminate the previous strands of her being into a celestial forgiveness of human frailties.
There is a repetition of favourite words like 'cleave' and an occasional vagueness and striving after effect in a poem such as Peregrine Pantoun and the odd phrase that sounds, not spontaneous, but too much like a translation as in 'driving mazes of mind', and a rare platitudinous line in Breeze Rider: 'the goal is to let the mind flow/and not stagnate'. However, this is followed in the same poem by the delightful: 'Ride the breeze, lift into it/a surprise each time', where she seeks a serendipity more than mere pleasure as she tries to find solace and oneness mystically in 'the way', as Rumi whom she quotes says, 'the night knows itself with the moon'.
She undergoes metamorphosis: 'when crocodiles turn to tortoises', or is 'reborn into a Peruvian horse'. This act of morphing, while surreal, is the action of a true poet to become, in whatever form it takes, in Pasternak's words, 'a guest of the universe'. It is a supreme act in defiance of the hubris of man.
She presents the female as a fecund symbol and the suture for life's wounds is for her not to be found in art but in the dream and magic as she tries to dig deep into her unconscious for other-worldly significances. And in this quest for wider perception, nothing is ruled out, and even entails communing with the dead: 'In our normal state we're not able to perceive/that's why I think the dead know'; and among the dead she insightfully and originally believes 'everything is taken care of'/ it's easy on the other side'.
The mundane life she presents as 'synapses of chaos' reminds one of 'the weariness, the fever and the fret' of Keats. She emerges from the womb with webbed feet, her purpose 'to penetrate ancestors' and learn from the gulls who possess the secret of an ordered world.
She starts out as the wandering child: 'Every journey knows a secret destination', which reminds one of Walter Benjamin and the art of losing oneself in cities, and memory not a map will guide her. Coming from such a multi-ethnic background— Greek-Irish-French-Spanish-American— her 'multi facial appearance/springs open like a fan' and she will search the universe for origins and connections. There links keep cropping up symbolically in the poems, for example in her quest for her Celtic roots, she is 'guided by Scottish pipes' and the harp.
She cannot be fixed in any one place and no mundane geographical locations will satisfy her. The nearest grounded place she could inhabit is the bewitching Greek island of Cythera, the birthplace of Venus where in The Sexiest Flower she could meet her ideal partner
But for the main part she has to transcend; she can only find her roots and ultimate destination in the dream: 'I'm dancing the dream/on the brink of barren ravaged realism.' Her place is timeless, involving a huge leap of imagination and carrying the reader with her through a vast foliage of surreal jungle.
She inhabits two worlds, which we all do at times but few of us articulate. She is like Plato seeking her twin: 'I am the space holder, twin inside myself...'
Hélène Cardona's poems are outside history. There are no clues, no technology, no smart phones; such things can imprison her thoughts and her dreams which need to be allowed to wander unfettered through the universe agelessly as 'consciousness wanting to expand'.

James Lawless' poetry collection is Rus in Urbe (Doghouse, 2012). He has written an acclaimed study of modern poetry, Clearing The Tangled Wood: Poetry as a Way of Seeing the World. He is also the author of five novels; his latest is Knowing Women. www.jameslawless.net

message 11: by James

James Lawless What is new novel American Doll about?
When Laura Calane of New York comes to Ireland to further her studies and to live in what her father considers a safer environment after 9/11, she discovers that the land of her ancestors is not the haven she had believed it to be. When she meets social worker Danny Faraday, she is torn between her attraction towards him and the emotional blackmail of her uncle Thady who is domiciled in Ireland and who never lets her forget that he saved her father’s life in a terrorist attack in New York in 1993.

The story is about loss, losing someone as Con the firefighter did with his wife in 9/11; it’s also about hope, never giving up and knowing when to give up and let go, and how the process is in danger of repeating itself in the new generation with Laura his daughter going missing in Ireland, and Danny’s parents who were also lost at sea. It’s also about coming into maturity as in the case of Danny with the help of Laura suffering the grief, and Laura, her growing out of her family engendered chimeras

message 10: by James

James Lawless Looking for a literary agent for my new novel American Doll just completed 84,000 words set in Ireland and USA about how 9/11 unscrewed a can of worms on an Irish American Family. It is a sort of Irish Roots and should appeal to Irish and Irish Americans in particular and to people universally in the impact of 9/11. www.jameslawless.net less

message 9: by James

James Lawless A Thousand Pardons by Jonathan Dee http://t.co/aviZUJEx1A

message 8: by James

James Lawless Acclaimed new novel, Knowing Women, by James Lawless, about a vulnerable bachelor wrongly tainted sexually, free on Kindle until 30th May.

message 7: by James

James Lawless A Conversation with James Lawless http://wp.me/p2Iv2B-3Z

message 6: by James

James Lawless My new novel Knowing Women is about a vulnerable man, Laurence J Benbo, who is wrongly tainted sexually. With all the paedophile cases going on at the moment— and there is no doubt most of them are justifiable—I wondered what if opinion and the law were to get it wrong. Benbo is perceived as a weak character particularly sexually, but he is no paedophile and when he stands accused, how will society judge him in the hue and cry of vindictiveness?

message 5: by James

James Lawless A Review of my poety collection from down under

Rus in Urbe by James Lawless (a Dubliner who now divides his time between Kildare and Cork) consists of poems in two languages: English and Irish. Lawless is best known through his prose, having published three novels and a study of modem poetry. These are poems which are sometimes personal, sometimes a narrative of other lives or situations: poetry of recollection. The Latin of the title is made explicit in the two sections of the book: the first part, Rus, is an evocation of a rural world; the second part, In Urbe, deals with the urban.

Lawless has a lyric gift: too often, however, he fails to fully develop it. Many of the poems end in mundane reflection, when greater intensity of thought would have extended and enriched the image:
a place where birds
circle about brazenly
knowing that man is trapped
by his own fear. (Early Light)

This lapse of imagination is a denial of poetic possibility—of poetry itself, particularly when a lyric begins with promise:
I open the gate
which was locked for winter:
now I can go in and out
of my spring days… (At Last the Rain has Stopped)

Lawless is not well served by a tendency towards the literally prosaic and an occasional slackness of rhythm, undesirable in the compressed form of the lyric; but this unevenness, while regrettable, confirms at least that he has the capacity (not always used) for concision and tautness of phrase. He is at his best when sparest:

Ivy dying on a pier,
stone crumbling;

the skeleton of a boat
sinking into sand;

A poem which ends with

a child digging a hole,
taking away something
deeper than himself. (Subtraction)

Four of the poems are in Irish (with accompanying versions in English), and are sufficiently assured in style (despite a handful of typos) to make one hope that Lawless will publish a collection in that language. The Irish language originals have an authority and music which their English versions lack:

Is mar sin a ghreamaíonn siad le chéile,
sásta leis an leathéan céanna
ag triall i dtreo na síoraIochta,
mar tá an t-uisce acu

chun a smaointea choimeád glan

agus cosa do-fheicthe ag tiornáint a gcroIthe. (Monagamas)

Colin Ryan University of Melbourne

message 4: by James (last edited Apr 08, 2013 12:34PM)

James Lawless Knowing Women: Strongly recommended - a beauty of a novel 8 April 2013
By Ester - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
This novel gives a tremendous insight into the minds and inter-relationships of the characters that feature in it. As a story it is very satisfying - it is extremely graceful and well written. The character of Benbo is wonderfully realised; Jadwiga, the lapdancer, attracts the reader from the start, and brother Maoilíosa and conniving wife Ena have an individuality of their own.

I can't recall the last time I felt so much in thought during and after the reading of a book - I can't explain why, exactly. James Lawless may not get the Booker prize, but with his versatility, sensitivity and understanding of human behaviour, he is sure to win prizes in the hearts of his readers. Strongly recommended.

message 3: by James

James Lawless Check out glowing reviews of a thought-provoking and original urban novel, Knowing Women by James Lawless.
Only $3 on Amazon Kindle.

message 2: by James

James Lawless Click on my blog at http://www.jameslawless.net to check out THE NEXT BIG THING.

message 1: by James

James Lawless A Christmas Story from my novel Peeling Oranges. See my blog at www.jameslawless.net

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