Fiction Titles


(please note the list of fiction titles runs to 144 pages - you may wish to highlight and select titles to print instead)

Fiction titles are organised according to author surname








Author surnames   A-E












Things We Didn’t See Coming by Steven Amsterdam

Book cover imageOpening on the eve of the millennium, when the world as we know it is still recognisable, we meet the nine-year old narrator as he flees the city with his parents, just ahead of a Y2K breakdown. In the next chapter he is a teenager, already a delinquent, in a world transformed by battles over resources, taking his grandparents for a Sunday drive and teaching them how to steal. In time, we see him struggle through strange, horrific, and unexpectedly funny terrain as he goes about the no longer simple act of survival.










Paths of Glory by Jeffrey Archer

Book cover imagePaths of Glory tells the story of George Mallory, the famed mountaineer who disappeared while attempting to climb Mount Everest in 1924.  












The Secret of My Face by Karen Ardiff

Book cover imageFourteen-year-old Veronica Broderick has lived a life of quiet, internal solitude, her existence shaped by a facial disfigurement that has rendered her effectively mute. After a visit from the young Dr. Geraghty, she becomes enchanted with by the possibility of change, running away from home to a new life with her wealthy relatives in Dublin. But Veronica’s naivety renders her vulnerable in this sophisticated milieu and she starts playing a dangerous game.












Persuasion by Jane Austen

Book cover imageAnne Elliot, twenty-seven and still single, seems destined for spinsterhood. In her youth, she broke off an engagement to penniless Captain Wentworth at the insistence of her friend Lady Russell, acquiescing to the demands of her class at the expense of her happiness. But when Wentworth returns from the Napoleonic wars rich and famous, Anne finds her affection rekindled.











The Detour by Gerbrand Bakker 



A Dutch woman rents a remote farm in rural Wales. She says her name is Emilie. She has left her husband, having confessed to an affair. In Amsterdam, her stunned husband forms a strange partnership with a detective who agrees to help him trace her. 












The Book of Evidence by John Banville

Book cover imageFreddie Montgomery has committed two crimes. He stole a small Dutch master from a wealthy family friend, and he murdered a chambermaid who caught him in the act. He has little to say about the dead girl. He killed her, he says, because he was physically capable of doing so. What he cannot understand, and would desperately like to know, is why he was so moved by an unattributed portrait of a middle-aged woman that he felt compelled to steal it.










A Long Long Way by Sebastian Barry

Book cover imageWillie Dunne is the innocent hero of Sebastian Barry's highly acclaimed novel. Leaving Dublin to fight for the Allied cause as a member of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, he finds himself caught between the war playing out on foreign fields and that festering at home, waiting to erupt with the Easter Rising. Profoundly moving, intimate and epic, A Long Long Way charts and evokes a terrible coming of age, one too often written out of history.











The Temporary Gentleman by Sebastian Barry 

Jack McNulty, a former UN observer, has worked around the world and seen extraordinary things but, as he contemplates his return to Ireland after many years, his memories are dominated by his tumultuous marriage to Mai Kirwan. 












The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry

Book cover imageNearing her one-hundredth birthday, Roseanne McNulty faces an uncertain future, as the Roscommon Regional Mental Hospital, where she has spent the best part of her adult life, prepares to close its doors. In the weeks prior to this closure, Roseanne often talks with her psychiatrist, Dr. Grene and their relationship intensifies. Told through their respective journals, the story that emerges is at once shocking and deeply beautiful











On Canaan’s Side by Sebastian Barry

Book cover imageNarrated by Lilly Bere, the story opens as she mourns the loss of her grandson, Bill. It then goes back to the moment she was forced to flee Dublin, at the end of the First World War, and follows her life into the new world of America, a world filled with both hope and danger. At once epic and intimate, Lilly's narrative unfurls as she tries to make sense of the sorrows and troubles of her life and of the people whose lives she has touched.










The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett

Book cover imageWalking her corgis one night the Queen stumbles upon a mobile library. Not wanting to seem rude she borrows a book, and then another. Soon she has been bitten by the bug and finds herself reading whenever she gets a moment. She becomes adroit at reading in the car while waving with her free hand and seems to be neglecting her once impeccably performed duties. She reads capriciously and diversely, everything from Proust to Vikram Seth and soon the seditious world of literature has her questioning her life and the political world around her.











The Collected Stories by Clare Boylan

Book cover imageFrom a setting that is sometimes slightly surreal, truth emerges with startling clarity. Children walk on the edges of dreams and discovery. Women tread the narrow margins between maturity and madness and men try to contain unruly girls with their carefully crafted frame of love. Boylan waves a flag for the dispossessed, the marginalised and the vulnerable. She prises love out of its romantic mask to show the naked face within.











Camus - The OutsiderThe Outsider by Albert Camus 

Meursault is different. He will not lie. He will not pretend. He is true to himself. So when his mother dies and he is unmoved, he refuses to do the proper thing and grieve. Returning to Algiers after the funeral, he carries on life as usual until he becomes involved in a violent murder. 










Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote

Book cover imageIt's New York in the 1940s, where the martinis flow from cocktail hour till breakfast at Tiffany's. And nice girls don't, except, of course, for Holly Golightly: glittering socialite traveller, generally upwards, sometimes sideways and once in a while - down. Pursued by to Salvatore 'Sally' Tomato, the Mafia sugar-daddy doing life in Sing Sing and 'Rusty' Trawler, the blue-chinned, cuff-shooting millionaire man about women about town, Holly is a fragile eyeful of tawny hair and turned-up nose, a heart-breaker, a perplexer, a traveller, a tease.










The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

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Raymond Chandler created the fast talking, trouble seeking Californian private eye Philip Marlowe for his first great novel The Big Sleep in 1939. Marlowe's entanglement with the Sternwood family, and an attendant cast of colourful underworld figures, is the background to a story reflecting all the tarnished glitter of the great American Dream.  Often imitated but never bettered, it is in Marlowe's long shadow that every fictional detective must stand. This collection also includes Farewell my Lovely and The Long Goodbye.











The Tailor and Ansty by Eric Cross

Book cover imageA classic of modern Irish literature, the stories of the tailor and his irrepressible wife Ansty. The Tailor never travelled further than Scotland, yet the breadth of the world could not contains the wealth of his humour and fantasy. All human life is here - marriages, inquests, matchmaking, wakes; and always the Tailor, his wife and their black cow.











Sweetland by Michael Crummey 


For twelve generations, the inhabitants of a remote island in Newfoundland have lived and died together. Now, in the second decade of the 21st century, they are facing resettlement. They have been offered a generous compensation. Moses Sweetland resists the coercion of family and friends in order to hold onto the only place he's ever called home. 








Homer and Langley Homer and Langley by E.L. Doctorow  

Brilliant brothers Langley and Homer Collyer are born into bourgeois New York comfort, their home a mansion on upper Fifth Avenue, their future rosy. But before he is out of his teens Homer begins to lose his sight, Langley returns from the war with his lungs seared by gas, and when both of their parents die, they seem perilously ill-equipped to deal with the new era.




The Ginger Man by J. P. Donleavy

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Feckless, unwashed, charming, penurious Sebastian Balfe Dangerfield, Trinity College Law student, Irish American with an English Accent, marooned in the auld country and dreaming of dollars and ready women, stumbles from the public house to the pawnbrokers, murmuring delusive enticements in the ear of any girl who'll listen, in delirious search of freedom, wealth, and the recognition he feels is his due. Lyrical and ribald, illuminating, poignant and hugely entertaining, The Ginger Man is a work of authentic comic genius.










The Woman who Walked Into Doors by Roddy Doyle

Book cover imageThe heart-rending story of a woman struggling to reclaim her dignity after a violent, abusive marriage and a worsening drink problem. Paula Spencer recalls her contented childhood, the audacity she learned as a teenager, the exhilaration of her romance with Charlo, and the marriage to him that left her powerless. Capturing both her vulnerability and her strength, Doyle gives Paula a voice that is real and unforgettable.










Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

Book cover imageOn a trip to the South of France, the heroine of Rebecca meets Maxim de Winter, a handsome widower whose sudden proposal of marriage takes her by surprise. She accepts, but whisked from glamorous Monte Carlo to the ominous and brooding Manderley, the new Mrs de Winter finds Max a changed man. And the memory of his dead wife Rebecca is forever kept alive by the forbidding Mrs Danvers.











The Things We Know Now by Catherine Dunne

Book cover imageWhen Patrick Grant's wife, Cecilia, dies suddenly, he is grief-stricken. He feels lost, filled with regret for all of his previous bad behaviour. When he meets Ella, he seizes the opportunity of a new life with her. Patrick's happiness is complete when his son Daniel is born: a golden child, talented, artistic, loving. And then, when Daniel is fourteen, tragedy strikes.













The Years that Followed by Catherine Dunne 

Inspired by Greek mythology, The Years That Followed, is a compelling tale of two women, thousands of miles apart, whose lives are thrown into turmoil by the power of love - and the desire for revenge.












The Lives of Women The Lives of Women by Christine Dwyer Hickey 


Following a long absence spent in New York, Elaine Nichols returns to her childhood home to live with her invalid father. The house backing on to theirs is sold and she is taken back to a summer in the 1970's when she was almost sixteen. A tragic event that will mark the rest of Elaine's life and be the cause of her long and guilt-ridden exile.







The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng

Book cover imageIn the highlands of Malaya, a woman sets out to build a memorial to her sister, killed at the hands of the Japanese during the brutal occupation of their country. Yun Ling's quest leads her to The Garden of Evening Mists, and to Aritomo, a man of extraordinary skill and reputation, once the gardener of the Emperor of Japan. When she accepts his offer to become his apprentice, she begins a journey into her past, inextricably linked with the secrets of her troubled country's history.










The Gathering by Anne Enright

Book cover imageThe nine surviving children of the Hegarty clan gather in Dublin for the wake of their wayward brother Liam. It wasn't the drink that killed him, although that certainly helped, it was what happened to him as a boy in his grandmother's house, in the winter of 1968.












The Green Road by Anne Enright 

The Green Road


A woman who doesn't quite know how to love her children - forces them to confront the weight of family ties and the road that brought them home.  Hanna, Dan, Constance and Emmet return to the west coast of Ireland for a final family Christmas in the home their mother is about to sell.











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Author Surnames   F-J



As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner 

As I Lay Dying


The death and burial of Addie Bundren is told by members of her family, as they cart the coffin to Jefferson, Mississippi, to bury her among her people. The intense desires, fears and rivalries of the family are revealed in the vernacular of the Deep South.







The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner 

The Sound and the Fury

Depicting the gradual disintegration of the Compson family through four fractured narratives, this novel explores the intense, passionate family relationships where there is no love, only self-centredness. Ever since the first furore was created on its publication in 1929, The Sound and the Fury has been considered one of the key novels of this century.







The Narrow Road To The Deep North by Richard Flanagan 

The Narrow Road to the Deep NorthThis is a story about the many forms of love. In the despair of a Japanese POW camp on the Burma Death Railway, surgeon Dorrigo Evans is haunted by his love affair with his uncle's young wife two years earlier. Struggling to save the men under his command from starvation, from cholera, from beatings, he receives a letter that will change his life forever.











Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

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When Emma Rouault marries Charles Bovary she imagines she will pass into the life of luxury and passion that she reads about in sentimental novels and women's magazines. But Charles is a dull country doctor, and provincial life is very different from the romantic excitement for which she yearns. In her quest to realize her dreams she takes a lover, and begins a devastating spiral into deceit and despair. 











A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale 

A shy but privileged elder son, Harry Cane has followed convention at every step. Even the beginnings of an illicit, dangerous affair do little to shake the foundations of his muted existence - until the shock of discovery and the threat of arrest force him to abandon his wife and child and sign up for emigration to Canada.









Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Still Alice Alice Howland is a cognitive psychology professor at Harvard and a renowned expert in linguistics, with a successful husband and three grown children. When she begins to grow forgetful and disoriented, she dismisses it for as long as she can until a tragic diagnosis changes her life.








Happiness Comes from Nowhere by Shauna Gilligan

Book cover imageFollows the lives of the Horn family as their paths cross and intertwine with those of extended family, friends and acquaintances, as journeys are made through the changing city of Dublin and further afield in search of happiness.














A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary by Xiaolu Guo 


Twenty-three-year-old Zhuang (or Z as she calls herself - Westerners cannot pronounce her name) arrives in London to spend a year learning English. She falls for an older Englishman and begins to realise that the landscape of love is an even trickier terrain.








I AM CHINA by Xiaolu Guo 


In a detention centre in Dover exiled Chinese musician Jian is awaiting an unknown fate. In Beijing his girlfriend Mu sends desperate letters to London to track him down. Iona unravels the story of these Chinese lovers from their first flirtations at Beijing University to Jian’s march in the Jasmine Revolution.








The Well of Loneliness by Radcliffe Hall

Book cover imageThe Well of Loneliness brought about the most famous legal trial for obscenity in the history of British law. Banned on publication in 1928, it then went on to become a classic bestseller. Stephen Gordon (named by a father desperate for a son) is not like other girls: she hunts, she fences, she reads books, wears trousers and longs to cut her hair. And when Stephen Gordon reaches maturity, she falls passionately in love - with another woman.











the narrow bed by Sophie Hannah 

the narrow bed

A killer that the police are calling 'Billy Dead Mates' is murdering pairs of best friends, one by one. Before they die, each victim is given a small white book...











The Tinkers by Paul Harding

Book cover imageAn old man lies dying. Propped up in his living room and surrounded by his children and grandchildren, George Washington Crosby drifts in and out of consciousness, back to the wonder and pain of his impoverished childhood in Maine. As the clock repairer’s time winds down, his memories intertwine with those of his father, an epileptic, itinerant peddler and his grandfather, a Methodist preacher beset by madness. 











Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf 

Our Souls at Night

Addie Moore and Louis Waters have been neighbours for years. Now they both live alone, their houses empty of family, their quiet night’s solitary. Then one evening Addie pays Louis a visit. 











The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Book cover imageSet in the Gulf Stream off the coast of Havana, Hemingway’s magnificent fable is the story of an old man, a young boy and a giant fish. Here, in a perfectly crafted story, is a unique and timeless vision of the beauty and grief of man’s challenge to the elements in which he lives.













The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Book cover imageTwelve-year-old Amir is desperate to win the approval of his father and resolves to win the local kite-fighting tournament, to prove that he has the makings of a man. His loyal friend Hassan promises to help him, but this is 1970s Afghanistan and Hassan is merely a low-caste servant who is jeered at in the street. But neither of the boys could foresee what would happen to Hassan on the afternoon of the tournament, which was to shatter their lives.










A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

Book cover imageMariam is only fifteen when she is sent to Kabul to marry Rasheed. Nearly two decades later, a friendship grows between Mariam and a local teenager, Laila, as strong as the ties between mother and daughter. When the Taliban take over, life becomes a desperate struggle against starvation, brutality and fear. Yet love can move a person to act in unexpected ways, and lead them to overcome the most daunting obstacles with a startling heroism.










Atomised by Michel Houellebecq

Book cover imageHalf-brothers Michel and Bruno have a mother in common but little else. Michel is a molecular biologist, a thinker and idealist, a man with no erotic life to speak of and little in the way of human society. Bruno, by contrast, is a libertine, though more in theory than in practice, his endless lust is all too rarely reciprocated. Both are symptomatic members of our atomised society, where religion has given way to shallow 'new age' philosophies and love to meaningless sexual connections. 










The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

Book cover imageIn 1956, Stevens, a long-serving butler at Darlington Hall, decides to take a motoring trip through the West Country. The six-day excursion becomes a journey into the past of Stevens and England, a past that takes in fascism, two world wars and an unrealised love between the butler and his housekeeper.













A Brief History of Seven Killing by Marlon James 


Spanning three decades and crossing continents, A Brief History of Seven Killings chronicles the lives of a host of unforgettable characters – slum kids, drug lords, journalists, prostitutes, gunmen and even the CIA. 








The Gingerbread Woman by Jennifer Johnston

Book cover imageOn a rainy afternoon on Killiney Hill a young man walking, without his overcoat, happens upon a woman gazing out over Dublin bay, standing perilously close to the edge. From their testy encounter develops a remarkable friendship which will enable each to face afresh their very different, damaged pasts, and to look, however tentatively, towards the future.











Dubliners by James Joyce

Book cover imageJoyce’s first major work, written when he was only twenty-five, brought his city to the world for the first time. His stories are rooted in the rich detail of Dublin life, portraying ordinary, often defeated lives with unflinching realism. He writes of social decline, sexual desire and exploitation, corruption and personal failure, yet creates a brilliantly compelling, unique vision of the world and of human experience.










A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce

Book cover imageSet in Ireland at the beginning of the 20th century this classic novel follows Stephen Dedalus as he progresses from boyhood to his coming of age. The book describes Stephen’s sexual awakening, his intellectual development and his rebellion against Roman Catholicism.











Ulysses by James Joyce

Book cover imageIn a series of episodes covering the course of a single day, 16 June 1904, the novel traces the movements of Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus through the streets of Dublin. Each episode has its own literary style, and the epic journey of Odysseus is only one of many correspondencies that add layers of meaning to the text. This edition, complete with an invaluable introduction, notes, and appendices, republishes for the first time, without interference, the original 1922 text.










Echoland by Joe Joyce 


In this atmosphere of edgy uncertainty, a young lieutenant, Paul Duggan, is drafted into the army's intelligence division, G2, and put on the German desk. Paul delves into the double-dealing worlds of spies and politics,










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Author Surnames   K-O


The Vegetarian by Han Kang 

The VegetarianIn South Korea, where vegetarianism is almost unheard-of and societal mores are strictly obeyed, Yeong-hye's decision is a shocking act of subversion. Her passive rebellion manifests in ever more bizarre and frightening forms, leading her bland husband to self-justified acts of sexual sadism. 






All Names have been Changed by Claire Kilroy

Book cover imageSet in Dublin of the mid-1980s, All Names have been Changed tells the story of a small group of mature students on a writing course at Trinity College, who become dangerously obsessed with their tutor, a notorious writer. Brilliantly exploring the shifting group dynamic, as events spiral ever further out of control, this is a novel of considerable verve and ambition.











Euphoria by Lily King


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An extraordinarily vivid novel set in 1930s New Guinea, where driven young anthropologist Nell Stone and her jealous husband, Fen, are doing research. Another anthropologist comes into their lives and most of the narrative is written from his perspective.




A Death in the Family by Karl Ove Knausgaard


When Karl Ove becomes a father himself, he must balance the demands of caring for a young family with his determination to write great literature. Knausgaard has created a universal story of the struggles, great and small, that we all face in our lives. A profound and mesmerizing work, written as if the author’s very life were at stake.








The Moor's Account by Laila Lalami 


In 1527 the Spanish conquistador Pánfilo de Narváez arrived on the coast of modern-day Florida. Almost immediately, the expedition was decimated by navigational errors, disease, starvation and fierce resistance from indigenous tribes. The official record, set down after a reunion with Spanish forces in 1536, contains only the three freemen s accounts. The fourth belongs to Estebanicos.








Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence

Book cover imageConstance Chatterley feels trapped in her sexless marriage to the invalid Sir Clifford. He encourages her to have a liaison with a man of their own class. But Connie is attracted instead to her husband’s gamekeeper. She embarks on a passionate affair that brings new life to her stifled existence. Can she find a true equality with Mellors despite the vast gulf between their positions in society?











Go set a Watchman by Harper Lee

Go Set A WatchmanTwenty-six-year-old Jean Louise Finch – ‘Scout’ – returns home from New York City to visit her ageing father, Atticus. Featuring many of the iconic characters from To Kill a Mockingbird, Go Set a Watchman perfectly captures a young woman, and a world, in painful yet necessary transition out of the illusions of the past – a journey that can be guided only by one’s own conscience. 








Swimming Home by Deborah Levy

Book cover imageAs he arrives with his family at the villa in the hills above Nice, Joe sees a body in the swimming pool. But the girl is very much alive. She is Kitty Finch: a self-proclaimed botanist with green-painted fingernails, walking naked out of the water and into the heart of their holiday. Why is she there? What does she want from them all? And why does Joe’s enigmatic wife allow her to remain?












The Dream of the Celt by Mario Vargas Llosa 

The Dream Of the Celt As The Dream of the Celt opens, it is the summer of 1916 and Roger Casement awaits the hangman in London's Pentonville Prison. Dublin lies in ruins after the disastrous Easter Rising and his petition for clemency is threatened by the leaking of his private diary and his secret life as a gay man...











No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy

Book cover imageLlewlyn Moss, hunting antelope near the Rio Grande, stumbles upon a transaction gone horribly wrong. Finding bullet-ridden bodies, several kilos of heroin, and a caseload of cash, he faces a choice - leave the scene as he found it, or take the money and run. Choosing the latter, he knows, will change everything. And so begins a terrifying chain of events, in which each participant seems determined to answer the question that one asks another: how does a man decide in which order to abandon his life?










Atonement by Ian McEwan

Book cover imageOn a hot summer day in 1934, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis witnesses a moment’s flirtation between her older sister, Cecilia, and Robbie Turner, the son of a servant and Cecilia’s childhood friend. But Briony’s incomplete grasp of adult motives, together with her precocious literary gifts, brings about a crime that will change all their lives.











On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan

Book cover imageIt is June 1962. In a hotel on the Dorset coast, overlooking Chesil Beach, Edward and Florence, who got married that morning, are sitting down to dinner in their room. Neither is entirely able to suppress their anxieties about the wedding night to come. On Chesil Beach is a story about how the entire course of a life can be changed by a gesture not made or a word not spoken.











The Barracks by John McGahern

Book cover imageElizabeth Reegan, after years of freedom - and loneliness - marries into the enclosed Irish village of her upbringing. The children are not her own; her husband is straining to break free from the servile security of the police force; and her own life, threatened by illness, seems to be losing the last vestiges of its purpose. Moving between tragedy and savage comedy, desperation and joy, John McGahern's first novel is one of haunting power.










The Dark by John McGahern

Book cover imageSet in rural Ireland, John McGahern's second novel is about adolescence and a guilty, yet uncontrollable sexuality that is contorted and twisted by both puritanical state religion and a strange, powerful and ambiguous relationship between son and widower father. Against a background evoked with quiet, undemonstrative mastery, McGahern explores with precision and tenderness a human situation, superficially very ordinary, but inwardly an agony of longing and despair.










High Ground and Other Stories by John McGahern

Book cover imageThe stories in High Ground are set in ordinary places; in the streets and suburbs and dancehalls of Dublin, the small towns and fields of the midlands, the big houses of the beleaguered Anglo-Irish in the aftermath of their ascendancy, and the whole changing country propelled in a generation from the nineteenth into the late twentieth century.











That They May Face the Rising Sun

Book cover imageJoe and Kate Ruttledge have come to Ireland from London in search of a different life. The drama of a year in their lives unfolds through the action, the rituals of work, religious observances and play. By the novel's close we feel that we have been introduced, with deceptive simplicity, to a complete representation of existence.









Even the Dogs by Jon McGregor

Book cover imageOn a cold, quiet day between Christmas and the New Year, a man's body is found in an abandoned apartment. His friends look on, but they're dead, too. Their bodies found in squats and sheds and alleyways across the city. Victims of a bad batch of heroin, they're in the shadows, a chorus keeping vigil as the hours pass, paying their own particular homage as their friend's body is taken away, examined, investigated, and cremated.










Solace by Belinda McKeon

Book cover imageMark Casey did not expect to fall in love. But from the minute he saw Joanne Lynch across the garden of a Dublin pub, it seemed that nothing else was possible. But Mark is also drawn back – guiltily – to his family and the land they have farmed for generations, and when he discovers the truth behind a family feud, it threatens to destroy this passionate love affair.











The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

Book cover imageHadley Richardson is a shy twenty-eight-year-old who has all but given up on love and happiness when she meets Ernest Hemingway and is captivated by his energy, intensity and burning ambition to write. After a whirlwind courtship and wedding, the pair set sail for France. But glamorous Jazz Age Paris, full of artists and writers, fuelled by alcohol and gossip, is no place for family life and fidelity.










The Valley of the Squinting Windows by Brinsley MacNamara

Book cover imageWhen this novel was first published in 1918 the book evoked the same reactions many people imagine only happened with Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses; it was publicly burned in the village where MacNamara lived and he was forced to leave. The author's powerful study of a rural community haunts readers' minds and imagination.











The Shadow Girls by Henning Mankell

The Shadow Girls A young Nigerian girl, has fled a refugee camp in Spain for the promise of a new life in Sweden. Tania has made a dangerous journey to escape the misery of life in a brothel. Leila has travelled with her family from Iran. All of them are face challenges. Initially, celebrated poet Jesper Hamlin sees the girls purely as material for his work, but they have very different idea.  








Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

Book cover imageBy 1535 Thomas Cromwell is Chief Minister to Henry VIII.  His fortunes have risen with those of Anne Boleyn, Henry's second wife, for whose sake Henry has broken with Rome and created his own church. But Anne has failed to bear a son to secure the Tudor line. Cromwell must negotiate a 'truth' that will satisfy Henry and secure his own career. But neither minister nor king will emerge undamaged from the bloody theatre of Anne's final days.











Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Book cover imageFlorentino Ariza has never forgotten his first love. He has waited nearly a lifetime in silence, since his beloved Fermina married another man. But now her husband is dead. Finally, after fifty-one years, nine months and four days, Florentino has another chance to declare his eternal passion and win her back.












The Lighthouse by Alison Moore

Book cover imageOn the outer deck of a North Sea ferry stands Futh, a middle-aged and newly separated man, on his way to Germany for a restorative walking holiday. After an inexplicably hostile encounter with a hotel landlord, Futh sets out along the Rhine. As he contemplates an earlier trip to Germany and the things he has done in his life, he does not foresee the potentially devastating consequences of things not done. 











The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne by Brian Moore

Book cover imageJudith Hearne, a Catholic middle-aged spinster, moves into yet another bed-sit in Belfast. A socially isolated woman of modest means, she teaches piano to a handful of students to pass the day. Her only social activity is tea with the O'Neill family, who secretly dread her weekly visits. Judith soon meets wealthy James Madden and fantasises about marrying this lively, debonair man.











Black Robe by Brian Moore

Book cover imageHis name is Father Laforgue, a young Jesuit missionary come from Europe to the New World to bring the word of God to the heathen. His mission is to reach and bring salvation to an isolated Huron tribe decimated by disease in the far north before incoming winter closes off his path to them. Father Laforgue is about to enter a world of pagan power and sexual license, awesome courage and terrible cruelty, that will test him to the breaking point as both a man and a priest, and alter him in ways he cannot dream.











Dear Life by Alice Munro 

Dear Life Moments of change, chance encounters, the twist of fate that leads a person to a new way of thinking or being: the stories in Dear Life build to form a radiant, indelible portrait of just how dangerous and strange ordinary life can be.








A Severed Head by Iris Murdoch

Book cover imageMartin Lynch Gibbon believes he can possess both a beautiful wife and a delightful lover. But when his wife, Antonia, suddenly leaves him for her psychoanalyst, Martin is plunged into an intensive emotional re-education. He attempts to behave beautifully and sensibly. Then he meets a woman whose demonic splendour at first repels him and late arouses a consuming and monstrous passion.










The Sea, the Sea by Iris Murdoch

Book cover imageWhen Charles Arrowby retires from his glittering career in the London theatre, he buys a remote house on the rocks by the sea. He hopes to escape from his tumultuous love affairs but unexpectedly bumps into his childhood sweetheart and sets his heart on destroying her marriage. His equilibrium is further disturbed when his friends all decide to come and keep him company and Charles finds his seaside idyll severely threatened by his obsessions.











Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky 

Suite Francaise Set during the year that France fell to the Nazis, Suite Française falls into two parts. The first is a brilliant depiction of a group of Parisians as they flee the Nazi invasion; the second follows the inhabitants of a small rural community under occupation. Irène Némirovsky began writing Suite Française in 1940, but her death in Auschwitz prevented her from seeing the day that the novel would be hailed worldwide as a masterpiece.







You by Nuala Ní Chonchúir

Book cover imageDebut novel about a 10-year-old girl who lives with her separated mother and two brothers. Set against the semi-urban backdrop of the River Liffey in 1980, the story unfolds through the narrator’s observations and interactions, and her naïve interpretations of adult conversations and behaviour. Heartbreaking at times, but also optimistic, humorous and enchanting.












Unravelling Oliver by Liz Nugent

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A complex and elegant study of the making of a sociopath. Oliver Ryan is a handsome and charismatic success story. He lives in the suburbs with his wife, Alice, who illustrates his award-winning children's books and gives him her unstinting devotion. Their life together is one of enviable privilege and ease - enviable until, one evening after supper, Oliver attacks Alice and beats her into a coma.


We Were the Mullvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates 

Something happens on Valentine's Day 1976. An incident involving Marianne Mulvaney, the pretty sixteen-year-old daughter, is hushed up in the town and never discussed within the family. The impact of this event reverberates throughout the lives of the characters.








The Fisherman by Chigozie Obioma 

The Fisherman


In a small town in western Nigeria, four young brothers go fishing at a forbidden local river. They encounter a dangerous local madman who predicts that the oldest brother will be killed by another. This prophesy breaks their strong bond and unleashes a tragic chain of events of almost mythic proportions.








Dept of Specualtion by Jenny Offill 


Dept of Speculation

Written with the dazzling lucidity of poetry. Dept. of Speculation navigates the jagged edges of a modern marriage to tell a story that is darkly funny, surprising, and wise.








The Ballad of a Small Player by Lawrence Osborne 

The Ballad of a Small Player

The Ballad of a Small Player is a sleek, dark-hearted masterpiece: a ghost story set in the land of the living, and a decadent morality tale of a Faustian pact made, not with the devil, but with fortune’s fickle hand.








The Country Girls by Edna O’Brien

Book cover imageIt is the early 1960s in a country village in Ireland. Caithleen Brady and her friend Baba are on the verge of womanhood and dreaming of spreading their wings in a wider world; of discovering love and luxury and liquor and above all, fun. With bawdy innocence, shrewd for all their inexperience, the girls romp their way through convent school to the bright lights of Dublin - where Caithleen finds that suave, idealised lovers rarely survive the real world.










The Third Policeman by Flann O’Brien

Book cover imageFlann O’Brien’s comic novel about the nature of time, death, and existence. Told by a narrator who has committed a botched robbery and a brutal murder, the novel follows his adventures in a two-dimensional police station where he is introduced to atomic theory and its relation to bicycles, and the existence of eternity.










The Land of Spices by Kate O’Brien

Book cover imageBehind the high, closed walls of a convent in the Irish countryside, the lives of its inhabitants are gently marked by the daily rituals of spiritual life. Watching over Anna, her sensitive and poetic young charge, the Mother Superior revisits her childhood relationship with her father. As Anna develops from a six-year-old to a scholarship candidate, Helen comes to understand her own heart and makes peace with her past.










Animal Farm by George Orwell

Book cover imageWhen the downtrodden animals of Manor farm overthrow their master Mr. Jones and take over the farm themselves, they imagine it is the beginning of a life of freedom and equality. But, gradually, a cunning, ruthless elite among them, masterminded by the pigs Napoleon and Snowball, starts to take control.










Nineteen Eighty-four by George Orwell

Book cover imageHidden away in the Record Department of the sprawling Ministry of Truth, Winston Smith skilfully rewrites the past to suit the needs of the Party. Yet he inwardly rebels against the totalitarian world in which he lives, which demands absolute obedience and controls him through the all-seeing telescreens and the watchful eye of Big Brother, symbolic head of the Party. In his longing for truth and liberty, Smith begins a secret love affair with a fellow-worker Julia, but soon discovers that the true price of freedom is betrayal.










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Author Surnames   P-T

Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson

Book cover imageIn 1948, when he is fifteen, Trond spends a summer in the country with his father. The unexpected events of that summer alter his life forever. An early morning adventure out stealing horses leaves Trond confused when his friend Jon suffers a sudden breakdown. Behind this scene, he will discover, lies a personal tragedy: the first incident in the gradual destruction of the two boys’ families.











I Refuse by Per Petterson 

I Refuse


Tommy’s mother has gone. She walked out into the snow one night, leaving him and his sisters with their violent father. Without his best friend Jim, Tommy would be in trouble. But Jim has challenges of his own which will disrupt their precious friendship.








The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Book cover imageWe follow Esther Greenwood's personal life from her summer job in New York with’ Ladies' Day’ magazine, back through her days at New England's largest school for women, and forward through her attempted suicide, her bad treatment at one asylum and her good treatment at another, to her final re-entry into the world like a used tyre: "patched, retreaded, and approved for the road".










Strumpet City by James Plunkett

Book cover imageSet in Dublin during the 1913 Lockout, Strumpet City is a panoramic novel of city life. From the destitution of Rashers Tierney to the solid, aspirant respectability of Fitz and Mary, the priestly life of Father O'Connor, and the upper-class world of Yearling and the Bradshaws, it paints a portrait of a city of stark contrasts, with an urban working class mired in vicious poverty. 











The Human Stain by Philip Roth

Book cover imageColeman Silk has a secret. But it's not the secret of his affair, at seventy-one, with a woman half his age. And it's not the secret of his alleged racism, which provoked the college witch hunt that cost him his job. Coleman's secret is deeper, and lies at the very core of who he is, and he has kept it hidden from everyone for fifty years.













Straight Man by Richard Russo 




Straight Man

Hank Devereaux, a fifty-year-old, one-time novelist now serving as temporary chair of the English department, has more than a mid-life crisis to contend with when he learns that he must cull 20 per cent of his department to meet budget. Half in love with three women, unable to understand his younger daughter he fails to see the larger consequences of his own actions.








The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan

Book cover imageIn the aftermath of Ireland's financial collapse, dangerous tensions surface in an Irish town. As violence flares, the characters face a battle between public persona and inner desires. Through a chorus of unique voices, each struggling to tell their own kind of truth, a single authentic tale unfolds. 













the thing about December by Donal Ryan 


the thing about December


While the Celtic Tiger rages, and greed becomes the norm, Johnsey Cunliffe desperately tries to hold on to the familiar, even as he loses those who all his life have protected him from a harsh world. Village bullies and scheming land-grabbers stand in his way, no matter where he turns.







All We Shall Know Donal Ryan 



All we shall knnow

Mary is a young Traveller woman, and she knows more about Melody than she lets on. She might just save Melody’s life.









The Giraffe's Neck by Judith Schalansky 

The Giraffe's Neck

Adaption is everything, something Frau Lohmark is well aware of as the biology teacher at the Charles Darwin High School in a country backwater of the former East Germany. Lohmark classifies her pupils as biological specimens but when the school's future is in jeopardy she is forced to adapt or she cannot survive.









The Reader by Bernhard Schlink

Book cover imageAs a 15-year-old boy in postwar Germany, Michael Berg had a passionate affair with Hanna, a mysterious, guarded woman twice his age, that ended suddenly when she disappeared. Years later, Michael sees her again, when she is on trial for a terrible crime. Much about her behaviour during the trial does not make sense. But then suddenly, and terribly, it does - Hanna is not only obliged to answer for a horrible crime, she is also desperately concealing an even deeper secret










Homecoming by Bernhard Schlink

Book cover imageAs a child raised by his mother in post-war Germany, Peter Debauer becomes fascinated by a story he discovers in the proof pages of a novel edited by his grandparents. It is the tale of a German prisoner of war who escapes from a Russian camp and braves countless dangers to return to a wife who believes that he is dead. The novel, however is incomplete and Peter becomes obsessed by the question of what happened when the soldier and his wife met again.










The Emigrants by W. G. Sebald

Book cover imageAt first The Emigrants appears simply to document the lives of four Jewish emigres in the twentieth century. But gradually, as Sebald's precise, almost dreamlike prose begins to draw their stories, the four narrations merge into one overwhelming evocation of exile and loss. Written with a bone-dry sense of humour and a fascination with the oddness of existence The Emigrants is highly original in its heady mix of fact, memory and fiction and photographs.











The Architect's Apprentice by Elif Shafak 


The Architect's Apprentice

Sixteenth century Istanbul: a stowaway arrives in the city bearing an extraordinary gift for the Sultan. The boy is utterly alone in a foreign land, with no worldly possessions to his name except Chota, a rare white elephant destined for the palace menagerie. So begins an epic adventure that will see young Jahan rise from lowly origins to the highest ranks of the Sultan's court.







The Bastard of Istanbul by Elif Shafak 



The Bastard of Istanbul

The Bastard of Istanbul is a tale of an extraordinary family curse and was longlisted for the 2008 Orange Fiction Prize. One rainy afternoon in Istanbul, a woman walks into a doctor's surgery. 'I need to have an abortion', she announces. She is nineteen years old and unmarried. What happens that afternoon will change her life.








The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields

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Born in 1905, Daisy Goodwill drifts through the chapters of childhood, marriage, widowhood, remarriage, motherhood and old age. Bewildered by her inability to understand her own role, Daisy attempts to find a way to tell her own story within a novel that is itself about the limitations of autobiography.





American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld

Book cover imageIn the year 2000, in the closest election in American history, Alice Blackwell's husband becomes president of the United States. Their time in the White House proves to be heady, tumultuous, and controversial. But it is Alice's own story, that of a kind, bookish, only child born in the 1940s Midwest who comes to inhabit a life of dizzying wealth and power, that is itself remarkable.











Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Book cover imageDrifters in search of work, George and his simple minded friend Lennie have nothing in the world except each other and a dream--a dream that one day they will have some land of their own. Eventually they find work on a ranch in California's Salinas Valley, but their hopes are doomed as Lennie, struggling against extreme cruelty, misunderstanding and feelings of jealousy becomes a victim of his own strength.










The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne

Book cover imageLaurence Sterne's great masterpiece of bawdy humour and rich satire defies any attempt to categorize it. Part novel, part digression, its gloriously disordered narrative interweaves the birth and life of the unfortunate 'hero' Tristram Shandy, the eccentric philosophy of his father Walter, the amours and military obsessions of Uncle Toby, and a host of other characters, including Dr Slop, Corporal Trim and the parson Yorick.










The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Book cover imageEnter a vanished and unjust world: Jackson, Mississippi, 1962. Where black maids raise white children, but aren't trusted not to steal the silver. There's Aibileen, raising her seventeenth white child and nursing the hurt caused by her own son's tragic death; Minny, whose cooking is nearly as sassy as her tongue; and white Miss Skeeter, home from College, who wants to know why her beloved maid has disappeared. No one would believe they'd be friends; fewer still would tolerate it. But as each woman finds the courage to cross boundaries, they come to depend and rely upon one another.









Olive Kitteridge: A Novel in Stories by Elizabeth Strout

Book cover imageAt times stern, at other times patient, at times perceptive, at other times in sad denial, Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher, deplores the changes in her little town and in the world at large, but she doesn’t always recognize the changes in those around her: a lounge musician haunted by a past romance: a former student who has lost the will to live: Olive’s own adult child, who feels tyrannized by her irrational sensitivities; and Henry, who finds his loyalty to his marriage both a blessing and a curse. 










Pefume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind

Book cover imageSurvivor, genius, perfumer, killer: this is Jean-Baptiste Grenouille. He is abandoned on the filthy streets as a child, but grows up to discover he has an extraordinary gift: a sense of smell more powerful than any other human’s. Soon, he is creating the most sublime fragrances in Paris. Yet there is one odour he cannot capture. It is exquisite, magical: the scent of a young virgin. And to get it he must kill. 











All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews 

Elf's latest suicide attempt leaves her hospitalised and Yoli is forced to confront the impossible question of whether it is better to let a loved one go. This book offers a profound reflection on the limits of love, and the challenges we experience when childhood becomes a new country of adult commitments and responsibilities.









Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín

Book cover imageIn a small town in the south-east of Ireland in 1952, Eilis Lacey is among many of her generation who cannot find work at home. So, when she is offered a job in America, she leaves her family to start a new life in Brooklyn, New York. Thia is a story of love, loss and one woman’s awful choice between duty and personal freedom.










Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Book cover imageAnna Karenina seems to have everything - beauty, wealth, popularity and an adored son. But she feels that her life is empty until the moment she encounters the impetuous officer Count Vronsky. Their subsequent affair scandalizes society and family alike, and soon brings jealousy and bitterness in its wake. 










The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas

Book cover imageAt a suburban barbecue one afternoon, a man slaps an unruly 3-year-old boy. The boy is not his son. It is a single act of violence, but this one slap reverberates through the lives of everyone who witnesses it happen. Inhis controversial, award-winning novel, Christos Tsiolkas presents an apparently harmless domestic incident as seen from eight very different perspectives. The result is an unflinching interrogation of our lives today; of the modern family and domestic life in the twenty-first century, a deeply thought-provoking novel about boundaries and their limits.











A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler 


We spool back through the generations witnessing the events secrets that have come to define the family. From Red’s father and mother, newly arrived in Baltimore in the 1920s, to Abby and Red’s grandchildren carrying the family legacy boisterously into the twenty-first century – four generations of Whitshanks.









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Author Surnames   U-Z

Rabbit, Run by John Updike

Book cover imageHarry 'Rabbit' Angstrom, one time high school sports superstar, is going nowhere. At twenty-six he is trapped in a second-rate existence, stuck with a fragile, alcoholic wife, a house full of overflowing ashtrays and discarded glasses, a young son and a futile job. With no way to fix things, he resolves to flee from his family and his home in Pennsylvania, beginning a thousand-mile journey that he hopes will free him from his mediocre life.











A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh 

Taking its title from T.S. Eliot's modernist poem The Waste Land, Evelyn Waugh's A Handful of Dust is a chronicle of Britain's decadence and social disintegration between the First and Second World Wars. This Penguin Modern Classics edition is edited with an introduction and notes by Robert Murray Davis.









Eyrie by Tim Winton 



Tom Keely has lost his bearings. His reputation in ruins, he finds himself holed up in a flat at the top of a grim high-rise, looking down on the world he’s fallen out of love with. He has cut himself off, and intends to keep it that way, until one day he runs into some neighbours: a woman from his past and her introverted young boy.







Old School by Tobias Wolff



Tom Keely has lost his bearings. His reputation in ruins, he finds himself holed up in a flat at the top of a grim high-rise, looking down on the world he’s fallen out of love with. He has cut himself off, and intends to keep it that way, until one day he runs into some neighbours: a woman from his past and her introverted young boy.


















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