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February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter


Growing up in Irishtown

Angeline Kearns Blain

Books about growing up in poverty, or at least discomfort, in Ireland have been making money in recent times for writers who can recall IN any detail the bad old times. Frank McCourt is by no means alone in giving life to a former Ireland and Angeline Kearns Blain is but the latest author to turn memories of a Toys ‘R’ Us-free childhood into the stuff of sobering prose. Her story is set in the Dublin district of Irishtown, near Ringsend, in the 1940s and ’50s. This is an Ireland fast fading in both fact and memory so the current Irish coming-of-age genre must be welcomed as an historical record as much as a means of educating the present generation about a time and place where there was nothing celtic at all about tigers. Irish Books and Media, (800) 229-3505 or IRISHBOOK@aol.com. 248 pp. $16.95.


W. Brian Perry

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In his first published novel, Perry tells the story of Justin Flynn, a blue-collar Irish Catholic in the Bronx who falls into a bad marriage and bad times in general. But somehow, through the downfalls and distractions, Flynn starts to grow up and set his life on a steadier course. Author Perry is a New Yorker and a journalist. He sets his sights high at the start by throwing in quotes from the likes of Yeats, G.K. Chesterton and F. Scott Fitzgerald. But it is evident early on that Perry can write his own story too, and with some style and conviction. Creative Arts Book Company, (510) 848-4777. 283 pp. $15.95.


OF THE YEAR 1999-2000

Peter Murtagh

The Irish Times is widely accepted being as being Ireland’s paper of record and as such occupies an honored place in the pantheon of daily newspapers in the democratic world. Not surprising, then, that the Times would step out to record the waning days of 20th century Ireland, a time when societal change was mimicking the heady pace of the country’s ever-changing weather. This book is a collection of Times stories, photos and illustrations from September 1999 to September 2000. Presumably the need to publish in time for the Christmas market resulted in exclusion of the final three months of 2000. Peter Murtagh, Times opinion page editor, author, and one of the leading Irish journalists over the last 20 years, writes the introduction. A parade of leading journalists follows in his wake. Irish Books and Media, (800) 229-3505 or IRISHBOOK@aol.com. 221 pp. $23.95.


Dennis Cotter

No not in Havana. Café Paradiso, the Irish one, is in Cork City, where it enjoys a reputation as arguably Ireland’s leading vegetarian restaurant. It says much for the state of contemporary Irish cuisine that the "two-veg" now leaves meat outside the door in more than a few restaurants around the country. But Irish cooking these days is nothing if not ambitious and imaginative, so it follows that author and chef Cotter has a few recipes under his high hat. More than a hundred are served up in this amply illustrated book. Dufour Editions, Chester Springs PA 19425. 206 pp. $29.95.

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