Normal people by Sally Rooney

amy-normal-people.jpgSet between 2011 and 2015, this is the story of Marianne and Connell whose relationship begins in secret while they are at school, and how it and they change as they leave their small town and go to Dublin for university. It’s about class, communication, love, abuse, mental illness, friendship and the struggle to find one’s place in the world as an adult. It’s very modern, and made me feel old, but it was very compelling.

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In the woods by Tana French

Amy in the woodsWhen he was twelve, Adam Ryan went into the local wood with his friends, and something most terrible happened. His friends were never seen again, and Adam couldn’t remember a thing. Years later, Adam is called Rob and he is on the Dublin Murder Squad when a girl is found murdered in the same wood. I really enjoyed this story about two crimes, of course, but also about friendship, childhood and the mess we can make of relationships. It has a delightful Irishness to it, and the ending isn’t too neat.

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The heart’s invisible furies by John Boyne

Amy Heart's Invisible FuriesThis is the story of an Irishman’s life, from before he was born, when his mother was kicked out of her village by the priest for being unmarried and pregnant, until all of his life was lived. It’s also the story of Ireland, from the end of WWII, until now, and how it has grown and changed. These were hard times to be gay in Ireland, and Cyril’s journey to find a place for and within himself, takes him across the world. This is a difficult story, harsh and sad, but it is also laugh out loud funny, tender, and full of characters that will stay with me.

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The green road

Amy Green Road

The Green Road is about the Irish Madigan family, from the eighties until now. They are a regular family, each playing the role expected of them, wishing to be understood, not seeking to understand. There is no great plot, but time spent in New York, Mali, Dublin and a small town in County Clare. No characters are truly likeable, and there is no significant resolution, but an interesting look at the selfishness, messiness, intractability, and strength of family ties, and the struggles of modern life.

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