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February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter


Sylvia Couturié

Sylvia Couturié and her sister Marguerite, children of an elite French family, were packed off to Ireland in the summer if 1939 for a holiday with their Irish governess. The holiday would turn into an exile as the Nazi’s overran France and plunged Europe into its most devastating conflict. Cut off from their country and family, the sisters adapted as best they could to an Irish life in wartime, one that could be frequently harsh and unforgiving, especially because their governess, "Wally," was, according to the author, an individual who fell well short of sainthood. Sylvia kept a diary during her exile and her memoir has the feel of one. Her story is a poignant and compelling tale of a time when children had to suddenly shed innocence along with the rest of a war-maddened world. Published by The Free Press. 256 pp. $24.


Oscar Wilde

Edited by Thomas Wright

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There’s even more to Oscar Wilde than we suspected. Not only was the man a brilliant writer and orator, he was also an outstanding narrator, a great teller of stories, some of them great in themselves. In this book, the first compilation of Wilde’s spoken tales, many of the man’s stories, written down by friends as he told them, have been delivered safely intact to posterity and the many readers today who simply can’t ever get enough of wild Oscar. Sterling Publishers. 192 pp. $17.95.


Edited by Gordon Snell

This is a collection of coming-of-age stories by a selection of Irish and Irish-American writers and in this regard alone "Thicker Than Water" stands out in an Irish context given that the very country itself has been going through a renewed coming-of-age in recent years. Containing a dozen stories by a group of outstanding writers, including M’ve Binchy, Shane Connaughton, Chris Lynch, Marita Conlon-McKenna and Helena Mulkerns, "Thicker Than Water" is edited by a man who knows good writing when he reads it. Snell is not only an author in his own right but is married to Binchy. Delacorte Press. 240 pp. $17.95.


Nuala O’Faolain

The long-awaited and much heralded debut novel from Irish journalist and author Nuala O’Faolain is now being shipped to the bookstores. "My Dream of You" follows in the wake of O’Faolain’s bestselling memoir, "Are You Somebody," and given the advance hype and evident expectations, O’Faolain should be quickly on course for the top of the bestseller list once again. Written in New York, "My Dream of You" is a tale of two woman, one Irish the other English, and is additionally the story of parallel lives and love separated by 150 years, from a time of hunger in Ireland to a time of unprecedented material prosperity. Riverhead Books. 500 pp. $25.95.

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