From long-awaited memoirs to short stories, Bridget Hourican picks the new must-reads. » MEMOIR
Country Girl by Edna O’Brien (Faber & Faber, £20) out October 4. The one we’ve all been waiting for – Edna O’Brien, in her 82nd year, finally publishes her memoirs. With most writers, especially ones as good as O’Brien, all the excitement of their lives happens on the page, but Edna escaped Co Clare via an elopement and a “Jane Eyre-type marriage”, had her first novel banned in Ireland, and took 1960s London by storm. Is she going to dish the dirt on taking LSD with RD Laing, on what happened with Marlon Brando in her kitchen, and on the politician in her life? Probably not. The Sphinx will keep her secrets. We’ll all be reading anyway.
Dear Life by World’s Alice Munro Best Travel (Chatto & Experiences Windus, (National £18.99) out Geographic, November 1. A £25), out new collection October 30. from one of the Lavish gift world’s greatest book with the writers usual dazzling and winner of the 2009 Man National Geographic photos, INSIDER Booker International Prize, plus locator maps, travel info, Michael Barry’s 50 Things often referred to as Canada’s insider tips and short essays to Do in Dublin, an Insider’s Chekhov because of the from acclaimed travel writers, Guide (DCBRS, €9.90) does what regionality, simplicity and including Bill Bryson, deceptive artlessness of Jan Morris and Andrew it says on the cover. Not much on her stories. Once more, McCarthy, see page 120. restaurants, shopping, etc., but as a she explores the lives This is a whistle-stop tour guide to the city’s attractions it of various inhabitants around the world, from is neat, well-illustrated and of the countryside and Thailand’s Chiang Mai to often surprising. towns around Lake Huron in Australia’s Uluru monolith to Ontario. Increasingly Munro, California’s Channel Islands, also now 81, is writing personal history, taking in medieval cities, national or autobiography in fictional mode, parks, ancient ruins, rain forests, revealing her life in ellipses. mountaintop villages …
: David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas goes Check out the trend for big screen adaptations of well-known classics this season ber 9 in US) comes from director Hollywood with Tom Hanks (October 26); Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina (out Novem 21 in US, December 21 in Ireland). Joe Wright; and Ang Lee takes on Yann Mantel’s Life of Pi (release November
Who’s reading what? Wh
Author Mike McCormack shares his reading list. Auth wHAT wHA ARe YoU ReADinG? I have just started Luminarium by Alex Shakar. Lumina This is a novel with an irresistible premise – one irre day a man gets an email from his comatose brother and is propelled into a journey between life and jo death, the real and the dea virtual – I find it impossible vir to pass by a novel with that kind of a come-on. tha wHeRe ARe YoU ReADinG iT? In a garden by the sea outside Galway city. I’m trying to
stop the magpies from muscling in on the goldfinches and the collared doves … so far I’m fighting a losing battle. fAVoURiTe PLACe To VisiT? Out to Ballynahinch on the Clifden road. There’s a tiny little church out there, Our Lady of the Wayside, which, if you step inside, will bring you right back to Ireland’s great monastic past. besT book To TAke on HoLiDAYs? Take Fernando Pessoa’s The Book of Disquiet to Lisbon. A fragmented book about fatigue, monotony,
boredom, lassitude, ennui and renunciation – it might not sound like holiday reading but it is mysteriously thrilling and it will guide you through one of the loveliest cities in Europe. book YoU wisH YoU’D neVeR TAken on HoLiDAY? I do not know how many times I have packed Don Quixote and each time it has returned home with me unopened. But one day, one day … Mike McCormack’s latest book of short stories, Forensic Songs, published by Lilliput is out now.