Book picks similar to
What are You Like? by Anne Enright
Kathleen Alcott - 2015
Edith is a widowed landlady who rents apartments in her Brooklyn brownstone to an unlikely collection of humans, all deeply in need of shelter. Crippled in various ways—in spirit, in mind, in body, in heart—the renters struggle to navigate daily existence, and soon come to realize that Edith’s deteriorating mind, and the menacing presence of her estranged, unscrupulous son, Owen, is the greatest challenge they must confront together. Faced with eviction by Owen and his designs on the building, the tenants—Paulie, an unusually disabled man and his burdened sister, Claudia; Edward, a misanthropic stand-up comic; Adeleine, a beautiful agoraphobe; Thomas, a young artist recovering from a stroke—must find in one another what the world has not yet offered or has taken from them: family, respite, security, worth, love. The threat to their home scatters them far from where they’ve begun, to an ascetic commune in Northern California, the motel rooms of depressed middle America, and a stunning natural phenomenon in Tennessee, endangering their lives and their visions of themselves along the way. With humanity, humor, grace, and striking prose, Kathleen Alcott portrays these unforgettable characters in their search for connection, for a life worth living, for home.
Orchid & the Wasp
Caoilinn Hughes - 2018
A tough, thoughtful, and savvy opportunist, Gael is determined to live life on her own terms. Raised in Dublin by single-minded, careerist parents, Gael learns early how a person’s ambitions and ideals can be compromised— and she refuses to let her vulnerable, unwell younger brother, Guthrie, suffer such sacrifices. When Gael’s financier father walks out on them during the economic crash of 2008, her family fractures. Her mother, a once-formidable orchestral conductor, becomes a shadow. And a fateful incident prevents Guthrie from finishing high school. Determined not to let her loved-ones fall victim to circumstance, Gael leaves Dublin for the coke-dusted social clubs of London and Manhattan’s gallery scene, always working an angle, but beginning to become a stranger to those who love her. Written in electric, heart-stopping prose, Orchid & the Wasp is a novel about gigantic ambitions and hard-won truths, chewing through sexuality, class, and politics, and crackling with joyful, anarchic fury. It challenges bootstraps morality with questions of what we owe one another and what we earn. A first novel of astonishing talent, Orchid & the Wasp announces Caoilinn Hughes as one of the most exciting literary writers working today.
A Song for Issy Bradley
Carys Bray - 2014
The Bradleys see the world as a place where miracles are possible, and where nothing is more important than family. This is their story. It is the story of Ian Bradley—husband, father, math teacher, and Mormon bishop—and his unshakeable belief that everything will turn out all right if he can only endure to the end, like the pioneers did. It is the story of his wife, Claire, her lonely wait for a sign from God, and her desperate need for life to pause while she comes to terms with tragedy. And it is the story of their children: sixteen-year-old Zippy, experiencing the throes of first love; cynical fourteen-year-old Al, who would rather play soccer than read the Book of Mormon; and seven-year-old Jacob, whose faith is bigger than a mustard seed—probably bigger than a toffee candy, he thinks—and which he’s planning to use to mend his broken family with a miracle. Intensely moving, unexpectedly funny, and deeply observed, A Song for Issy Bradley explores the outer reaches of doubt and faith, and of a family trying to figure out how to carry on when the innermost workings of their world have broken apart.
All the Beggars Riding
Lucy Caldwell - 2013
A prominent plastic surgeon, and Irishman, he had honed his skills on the bomb victims of the Troubles. But the family grew up used to him being absent: he only came to London for two weekends a month to work at the Harley Street clinic, where he had met their mother years before, and they only once went on a family holiday together, to Spain, where their mother cried and their father lost his temper and left early.Because home, for their father, wasn't Earls Court: it was Belfast, where he led his other life ...Narrated by Lara, nearing forty and nursing her dying mother, All the Beggars Riding is the heartbreaking portrait of a woman confronting her past just as she realises that the time to get any sort of answers is running out.
Mary Costello - 2014
CoetzeeAcademy Street is the heart-breaking and evocative story of one woman’s life spanning six decades. Tess’s childhood in 1940’s rural Ireland is defined by the sudden death of her mother. Later, in New York, she encounters the ferocious power and calamity of love, and the effects of catastrophic fate. The novel resonates with the rhythms of memory and home as well as those of America’s greatest city.This is an intimate story about unexpected gifts and unbearable losses, and the perpetual ache for belonging. It is exquisitely written and profoundly moving.
The Other Son
Nick Alexander - 2015
As for Alice’s other son, he has always been something of a stranger and has been traveling for so long that Alice isn’t even sure what continent he is on anymore.Alice can’t help but wonder if the effort she expends presenting a united front to the outside world is actually helping anyone and what would happen if she suddenly stopped pretending.Could life, like the novels she devours, hold surprises in its closing chapters?And if she did shake everything up by admitting the truth about her marriage, would anyone be on her side? Has the time finally come for Alice to put her own needs first?For the first time in years, her heart is racing. Can Alice really change her life?Dare she even imagine such a thing? Revised edition: This edition of The Other Son includes editorial revisions.
Belinda McKeon - 2011
To his father, Tom, who needs help baling the hay and ploughing the fields, Mark's pursuit isn't work at all, and indeed Mark finds himself whiling away his time with pubs and parties. His is a life without focus or responsibility, until he meets Joanne Lynch, a trainee solicitor whom he finds irresistible. Joanne too has a past to escape from and for a brief time she and Mark share the chaos and rapture of a new love affair, until the lightning strike of tragedy changes everything.
Mr Golightly's Holiday
Salley Vickers - 2003
Golightly wrote a work of dramatic fiction that grew to be an astonishing international bestseller. But his reputation is on the decline and he finds himself badly out of touch with the modern world. He decides to take a holiday and comes to the historic village of Great Calne, hoping to use the opportunity to bring his great work up to date. But he soon finds that events take over his plans and that the themes he has written on are being strangely replicated in the lives of the villagers around him. As he comes to know his neighbors better, Mr. Golightly begins to examine his attitude toward love and to ponder the terrible catastrophe of his only son's death -- so, too, we begin to learn the true and extraordinary identity of Mr. Golightly.
The Burgess Boys
Elizabeth Strout - 2013
Jim, a sleek, successful corporate lawyer, has belittled his bighearted brother their whole lives, and Bob, a Legal Aid attorney who idolizes Jim, has always taken it in stride. But their long-standing dynamic is upended when their sister, Susan—the Burgess sibling who stayed behind—urgently calls them home. Her lonely teenage son, Zach, has gotten himself into a world of trouble, and Susan desperately needs their help. And so the Burgess brothers return to the landscape of their childhood, where the long-buried tensions that have shaped and shadowed their relationship begin to surface in unexpected ways that will change them forever. With a rare combination of brilliant storytelling, exquisite prose, and remarkable insight into character, Elizabeth Strout has brought to life two deeply human protagonists whose struggles and triumphs will resonate with readers long after they turn the final page. Tender, tough-minded, loving, and deeply illuminating about the ties that bind us to family and home, The Burgess Boys is Elizabeth Strout's newest and perhaps most astonishing work of literary art.
Edna O'Brien - 1973
From the center of her bed, "a four poster no less," Mary recalls her fertile past, from her childhood in the Irish countryside to the love affairs she has confronted since leaving for English shores. Wistful, wanton, this erotic reverie shows O'Brien to be one of the foremost heirs to modernism. "Very few writers use language as richly and sensuously . . . There are passages here worthy of Joyce" (Library Journal).