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Reads for Irish-American Heritage Month

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Reads for Irish-American Heritage Month

irish american heritage 2024

March is Irish-American Heritage Month, and of course, St. Patrick’s Day is around the corner. To commemorate both the great work of Irish-American writers, as well as the breadth of experiences of Irish-Americans throughout our nation’s history, here are some notable novels from recent years which focus on Irish-American characters. (Descriptions provided by the publishers)

we are the brennans

We Are the Brennans by Tracey Lange

When twenty-nine-year-old Sunday Brennan wakes up in a Los Angeles hospital, bruised and battered after a drunk driving accident she caused, she swallows her pride and goes home to her family in New York. But it’s not easy. She deserted them all—and her high school sweetheart—five years before with little explanation, and they’ve got questions. Sunday is determined to rebuild her life back on the east coast, even if it does mean tiptoeing around resentful brothers and an ex-fiancé. The longer she stays, however, the more she realizes they need her just as much as she needs them. When a dangerous man from her past brings her family’s pub business to the brink of financial ruin, the only way to protect them is to upend all their secrets—secrets that have damaged the family for generations and will threaten everything they know about their lives. In the aftermath, the Brennan family is forced to confront painful mistakes—and ultimately find a way forward, together.

The Cold Millions by Jess Walter

The Dolans live by their wits, jumping freight trains and lining up for day work at crooked job agencies. While sixteen-year-old Rye yearns for a steady job and a home, his older brother, Gig, dreams of a better world, fighting alongside other union men for fair pay and decent treatment. Enter Ursula the Great, a vaudeville singer who performs with a live cougar and introduces the brothers to a far more dangerous creature: a mining magnate determined to keep his wealth and his hold on Ursula. Dubious of Gig’s idealism, Rye finds himself drawn to a fearless nineteen-year-old activist and feminist named Elizabeth Gurley Flynn. But a storm is coming, threatening to overwhelm them all, and Rye will be forced to decide where he stands. Is it enough to win the occasional battle, even if you cannot win the war? Featuring an unforgettable cast of cops and tramps, suffragists and socialists, madams and murderers, The Cold Millions is a tour de force from a “writer who has planted himself firmly in the first rank of American authors” (Boston Globe).

Sorry for Your Trouble: Stories by Richard Ford

A landmark collection of stories from Richard Ford that showcases his brilliance, sensitivity, and trademark wit and candor In Sorry for Your Trouble, Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times-bestselling author Richard Ford enacts a stunning meditation on memory, love and loss. “Displaced” returns us to a young man’s Mississippi adolescence, and to a shocking encounter with a young Irish immigrant who recklessly tries to solace the narrator’s sorrow after his father’s death. “Driving Up” follows an American woman’s late-in-life journey to Canada to bid good-bye to a lost love now facing the end of this life. “The Run of Yourself,” a novella, sees a New Orleans lawyer navigating the difficulties of living beyond his Irish wife’s death. And “Nothing to Declare” follows a man and a woman’s chance re-meeting in the New Orleans French Quarter, after twenty years, and their discovery of what’s left of love for them. Typically rich with Ford’s emotional lucidity and lyrical precision, Sorry for Your Trouble is a memorable collection from one of our greatest writers.

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane

Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope, rookie NYPD cops, are neighbors in the suburbs. What happens behind closed doors in both houses—the loneliness of Francis’s wife, Lena, and the instability of Brian’s wife, Anne, sets the stage for the explosive events to come.In Mary Beth Keane’s extraordinary novel, a lifelong friendship and love blossoms between Kate Gleeson and Peter Stanhope, born six months apart. One shocking night their loyalties are divided, and their bond will be tested again and again over the next thirty years. Heartbreaking and redemptive, Ask Again, Yes is a gorgeous and generous portrait of the daily intimacies of marriage and the power of forgiveness.

eulogist

The Eulogist by Terry Gamble

From the author of The Water Dancers and Good Family comes the story of an Irish family that emigrates to America in 1819 and settles in Cincinnati, Ohio, where they will confront the horrible reality of slavery on the opposite bank of the Ohio River.

The Red Coat by Dolley Carlson

From the Man Booker Prize-winning author of The Sense of an Ending--a rich, witty, revelatory tour of Belle Époque Paris, via the remarkable life story of the pioneering surgeon, Samuel Pozzi. In the summer of 1885, three Frenchmen arrived in London for a few days’ intellectual shopping: a prince, a count, and a commoner with an Italian name. In time, each of these men would achieve a certain level of renown, but who were they then and what was the significance of their sojourn to England? Answering these questions, Julian Barnes unfurls the stories of their lives which play out against the backdrop of the Belle Époque in Paris. Our guide through this world is Samuel Pozzi, the society doctor, free-thinker and man of science with a famously complicated private life who was the subject of one of John Singer Sargent’s greatest portraits. In this vivid tapestry of people (Henry James, Sarah Bernhardt, Oscar Wilde, Proust, James Whistler, among many others), place, and time, we see not merely an epoch of glamour and pleasure, but, surprisingly, one of violence, prejudice, and nativism-with more parallels to our own age than we might imagine. The Man in the Red Coat is, at once, a fresh portrait of the Belle Époque; an illuminating look at the longstanding exchange of ideas between Britain and France; and a life of a man who lived passionately in the moment but whose ideas and achievements were far ahead of his time.

Lilac Lane by Sherryl Woods

In Chesapeake Shores, Maryland, the clashes between Kiera Malone and O’Brien’s chef, Bryan Laramie, have the town’s matchmakers believing where there’s heat, there’s sure to be passion. As the two deal with their wounded pasts and discover common interests, they might just find the perfect recipe for love.

Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan

Anna Kerrigan, nearly twelve years old, accompanies her father to visit Dexter Styles, a man who, she gleans, is crucial to the survival of her father and her family. She is mesmerized by the sea beyond the house and by some charged mystery between the two men. ‎Years later, her father has disappeared and the country is at war. Anna works at the Brooklyn Naval Yard, where women are allowed to hold jobs that once belonged to men, now soldiers abroad. She becomes the first female diver, the most dangerous and exclusive of occupations, repairing the ships that will help America win the war. One evening at a nightclub, she meets Dexter Styles again, and begins to understand the complexity of her father’s life, the reasons he might have vanished.

Joe, Adult Services & Acquisitions

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