THE BIG FIGHT
It was a hugely popular victory and a home one of sorts. The first thing Muhammed Ali announced when he landed in Ireland was that he had an Irish great-grandfather, Abe Grady from County Clare. Hannigan, familiar to Echo readers by virtue of his weekly column, not only tells the story of the big fight but of Ireland at the time it opened its arms and hearts to a living legend. Ali might be almost silent now, but he was anything but in the week that he spent among the Irish. Yellow Jersey Press (distributed by Trafalgar Square, 1 (800) 423-4525 or www.trafalgarsquarebooks.com). 178 pp. $16.95.
The Dublin-based author follows her 1916 and 1921 novels with this tale of a young, idealistic woman named Ursula Halloran. Through the author’s heroine, the reader travels through the Ireland of the 1920s, the Great Depression and World War II, or the “Emergency,” as it was known in the de Valera-era Free State, to the point that the Free State becomes the Republic, a pivotal moment in Ireland’s journey toward becoming a modern independent state. Forge (www.tor.com). 414 pp. $25.95.
The title of this collection does not indicate the number of tracks. There are in fact 15 folk/Celtic songs delivered afresh on this CD by a singer described by Billboard Magazine as “musically ravishing” and by the Wall Street Journal as both “mesmerizing” and a singer who has to be heard. Larry Groce of the NPR show “Mountain Stage” has opined that Rusby is doing for Celtic music what Johnny Lang and Keb Mo have done for the blues. Which is to say quite a bit. On the Compass records label. Details from www.compassrecords.com.
McCartney snagged strong reviews in Ireland for this, her debut novel. Various reviewers described Desire Lines as “beguiling,” “well-plotted,” and a “page-turner.” The central character in this romantic tale, Clare Murphy, returns home to Belfast after her acting career in London hits the skids. She meets a man and begins to fall for him. Problem is, he’s a priest. Dufour Editions, ( 458-7103). 307 pp. $12.95.