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Donal Ryan: a profound sensitivity to the possibilities inherent in human relations.

Donal Ryan A Slanting of the Sun

Donal Ryan's debut short stories, A Slanting of the Sun, lurk in the murky shafts of dark territory, but many of the stories have a striking poetic grace and a profound sensitivity to the possibilities inherent in human relations.

  • Mac Domhnaill's county Limerick is impish and tragic by turns, and his tales are deep-rooted in the farming patterns of the place. A few stories are set elsewhere in Ireland.

    Mike Mac Domhnaill Sifting

    Mike MacDomhnaill won the Francis MacManus Short Story award in 2013 and his debut collection avoids the contemporary, choosing mostly to portray aspects of mid-twentieth century life in rural County Limerick with strikingly imaginative verve and skill.

  • Reacher's criss-crossing of the US brings him to Mother's Rest, Oklahoma

    Lee Child Make Me

    It's the 20th book in Lee Child's Jack Reacher series. Harry Guerin thinks there could be some changes ahead for this hero of our time.

  • Maurice Riordan: moving, vivid evocations from a rural Cork upbringing

    Maurice Riordan The Holy Land/ The Water Stealer

    Cork poet Maurice Riordan has written beautifully of his rural upbringing in Lisgoold, County Cork, in the collections Floods, The Water Stealer and The Holy Land. Rendered in a Munster accent, Riordan's is a different take from Seamus Heaney's view.

  • Lesser-known  - but no lesser for that - F Scott Fitzgerald stories gathered in two tasteful volumes

    F Scott Fitzgerald The Love Boat and Other Stories

    The author of The Great Gatsby wrote so much more than that classic novel, or novels such as Tender Is the Night and The Beautiful and the Damned. His short stories have a bittersweet sense of felt life, of virtue and strength found in unlikely places.

  • Richard Pine's new book, Greece Through Irish Eyes. The author draws fascinating parallels between Greece and Ireland in his 388-page book.

    Richard Pine Greece Through Irish Eyes

    Richard Pine casts an astute and sometimes wry eye on his adopted land in this detailed, compelling account.

  • An absorbing selection of Irish poems published since 1916 which will stop you turning out the bedside lamp.

    Windharp: Poems of Ireland since 1916

    This welcome new anthology is perhaps doing its most useful thing when it turns up neglected gems, from poets like Katharine Tynan and Padraic Fallon. Classic work from Kavanagh and Heaney is also given time in the sun again within the book's 318 pages.

  • The Blue Guitar: a profound exploration of the loss of dear things in one man's life - innocence, brief happiness, fleeting love.

    John Banville The Blue Guitar

    In The Blue Guitar, John Banville continues the elegaic, tender note that informed his last novel, Ancient Light as the Wexford-born novelist delves through his season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.

  • Sait Faik's stories have a curious sparkle despite the often hard-pressed, dissolute lives of his characters.

    Sait Faik Abasiyanik A Useless Man

    Sait Faik Abasiyanik (1906-1954) is one of Turkey's most revered writers who wrote 12 books of short stories. The tales collected in A Useless Man are vivid, colourful slices of life drawn straight off Istanbul's streets like water fresh from a well.

  • The Long, Hot Summer

    Kathleen MacMahon The Long, Hot Summer

    Kathleen MacMahon's much-anticipated second novel is an intriguing character study and a charming summer read.

  • Simenon - master of suspense and motive

    Georges Simenon Inspector Maigret

    Crime writer Georges Simenon (1903-1989) wrote 75 Maigret novels and 28 Maigret short stories. Penguin Classics are reissuing them all in translation and they are well worth checking out.

  • Danilo Kiš - a marvellous story-teller, newly translated in Penguin

    Danilo Kiš The Encyclopedia of the Dead

    Set in different historical periods, Danilo Kiš's collection of stories, The Encyclopedia of The Dead opens up obscure lives from the past with highly imaginative flair and delicacy. Much more than mere period pieces, Kis's stories are unique marvels.

  • Edith Hall's account helps us understand where the Greeks are coming from, in terns of national characteristics that still abide, many centuries after the country's birth.

    Edith Hall Introducing The Ancient Greeks

    To help us understand the Greeks - both the ancient race and by extension the modern for there is obvious continuity - Edith Hall has written a fascinating book which is erudite, witty and accessible.

  • In the Night of Time: engaging story of a torrid affair between a Spanish architect and an an American woman

    Antonio Muñoz Molina In the Night of Time

    This highly compelling novel vividly recalls the Spanish Civil War but its main focus is the love affair between a Spanish architect and an American woman.

  • The Trigger: Forensic yet deeply compelling account of the Balkan origins of the First World War

    Tim Butcher The Trigger

    Gavrilo Princip is still infamous in school history texts as the radicalised teenager saddled with responsibility for starting the First World War. Tim Butcher's magisterial work teases out the complex truth about his role in the conflict.