Two very readable Irish novels dóibh siúd ar bheagáin GaeilgeNovember 1, 2012 - 8:00am
Two new novels written in the Irish language have been published by Connemara-based publishers, Cló Iar-Chonnacht.
The books have been penned by two prolific men – an tAth Pádraig Standún and Pádraic Breathnach, a Moycullen native who is a retired college lecturer now living in Limerick.
Standún has published ten previous novels, first in the Irish language and which have almost all been translated into English.
A very popular writer, the Mayo native who is now Parish Priest in Carna, has taken to writing contemporary thriller type novels, departing from the style he started with almost 30 years ago – life in rural or small town Ireland and almost always involving a priest and often about clerical celibacy.
His first book, published in 1983, Súil le Bréith (about clerical celibacy) was made into a film (Budawanny) by Bob Quinn.
Standún has now turned to setting his novels in locations abroad. His new novel, Ar Nós an Pháiste, is set in Amsterdam while the previous one, I gCongar i gCéin was set in Venice.
The new book is about a man who has Alzheimers who has escaped from a nursing home in Ireland and landed in Amsterdam where he goes into the Van Gogh museum and climbs onto the rooftop, three storeys high. Everyone assumes he is trying to commit suicide. The plot thickens.
His last book too had a plot that was a page turner, though it was also a love story which brought the beauty of Venice to life.
His writing is fluid which makes his stories come alive and makes them so easy to read.
The other Pádraic, Breathnach that is, has been as busy writing short stories and lately novels since 1974. He has won many Oireachtas prizes, including Duais Sheáin Uí Éigeartaigh, 1983; and Duais Bhord na Gaeilge at Listowel in 1992 and 1994. He was awarded The Butler Literary Award from The Irish American Cultural Institute in 1992.
More than likely his new novel, Deargadaoil I mBád fó Thoinn will also be shortlisted, if not a winner at the Oireachtás for its humour and its solid setting on a college campus, something Breathnach is familiar with having lectured at the Mary Immaculate College in Limerick.
He is highly regarded both as a contemporary novelist but also as an academic writer and last year his translation of the Pulitizer Prize book, Angela’s Ashes, was very well received.
Both books are very readable and are available in most good bookshops now in time to be bought as stocking fillers for Christmas for anyone who has a grasp of the Irish language.