Tag Archives: Ireland

A book that kept me awake at night…

… was Paul Lynch’s Prophet Song. I felt Eilish’s sorrow, how she made decisions and got it wrong, but any other decision could have been as wrong as the one she made. The plot draws the reader into a maze of totalitarianism in Ireland of all places, first showing its ugly face here and there, than everywhere. Family is at the core of the story, and this strong unit is slowly falling apart. What was once normal everyday happiness is no longer there, and its absence is increasingly felt by Eilish and her children. Her father is slowly sliding into dementia, but in his lucid moments sees the threats that come from the state and warns his daughter to get out – yet she can’t, doesn’t want to, wants to hold on to hope until there is no hope to hold on to. Because of the times we live in the book has a particularly urgent power, it is incredibly well written and incredibly sad. A must-read!

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Just a quick note to say: Ratlines by the Northern Irish writer Stuart Neville is a GOOD read and hadn’t been on my book wish list for nothing. After reading a review in the Saturday edition of the Financial Times on 25 January 2013), I was intrigued by this story that travels between Germany’s, France’s and Ireland’s past and the present. But then I forgot about it for a while, until it caught my eyes on my way back to Berlin at Dublin airport. It’s not your ordinary crime thriller, since it uses quite a lot of historical facts and blends them with the fictional (and sometimes not so fictional characters). The main character Lieutenant Albert Ryan has a tough job to do and some difficult decisions to make, testing his integrity and makes him wonder what loyalty means. There are lots of twists in the story and yes, there’s love, too.  Or something like it. I know now what the title means. Do you want to find out, too?

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Philosophical in 2013

I was given a question for Christmas – and quite a big one it was. No less than Who Are We? was on the agenda. This book by the journalist Gary Younge takes the reader’s thoughts into new directions. Every time I thought „Yes, that’s what I’m already doing. Ok, that’s something I could do better“, there was still another thought around the corner that I hadn’t even contemplated. All wrapped into stories about different people’s identities, why they feel comfortable (or too comfortable) in their own skin or why they don’t. Never really having to justify why I want to cross a particular border is a great privilege. I knew that before I’d read the book. But now I understand even better what it means not to be in that position. Plus: It’s great about Ireland ….
I pass the question on – and recommend the book to anybody who might want to discuss this big question with me and others.

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On Ireland

About time I wrote about a book by Colm Tóibín. Is Bad Blood travel writing? It is in a way. It talks about a pilgrimage that leads to a deeper understanding of a troubled nation – in the writer AND in the reader. It talks about a religious conflict and a wealth divide. About the music of Ireland (of course!), about literature and about killings. I recommend this book to anybody who’d like to learn about Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and the people who live there. And about Colm Tóibín’s unique and insightful writing.

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Neulich habe ich meine S-Bahn Station verpasst. Schuld daran war ‚On Canaan’s Side‘ von Sebastian Barry. Was für eine große Geschichte – erzählt aus der Sicht von Lilly Bere, die glaubt, am Ende ihres Lebens angekommen zu sein. Der Tod ihres Enkels lässt sie über die vielen Begebenheiten nachdenken, die ihrem Leben immer neue Wendungen gaben. Ein Kaleidoskop irischer und amerikanischer Geschichte. Und ein wunderbares Buch über die Liebe.

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