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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: April 14, 2010 @ 5:17 pm

    Another day, another short(ish)list

    Fiona McCann

    This time it’s for the Irish Book of the Decade, and it’s to be decided through an online vote. (Link now updated, folks: should work, finally). There’s a strange mix of apples and oranges in there, so it’s hard to know how we can compare The Speckled People by Hugo Hamilton with Lessons in Heartbreak by Cathy Kelly or The Pope’s Children by David McWilliams. Still, it’s our task as readers to judge like with unlike in this instance. So what gets your vote for this Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards’ prize? Find the shortlist of fifty after the fold . . .

    The Story of Lucy Gault   by William Trevor
    Star of the Sea   by Joseph O’Connor
    Winterwood   by Patrick McCabe
    Paula Spencer   by Roddy Doyle
    The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas   by John Boyne
    Tenderwire   by Claire Kilroy
    The Secret Scripture   by Sebastian Barry
    Heart and Soul   by Maeve Binchy
    Brooklyn   by Colm Tóibín
    Molly Fox’s Birthday   by Deirdre Madden
    Stepping Stones   by Dennis O’Driscoll and Seamus Heaney
    Let The Great World Spin   by Colm McCann
    The Builders   by Frank McDonald and Kathy Sheridan
    This Charming Man   by Marian Keyes
    The Speckled People   by Hugo Hamilton
    The New Policeman   by Kate Thompson
    Memoir   by John McGahern
    A Long Long Way   by Sebastian Barry
    The Pope’s Children   by David McWilliams
    Back From The Brink   by Paul McGrath
    The Gathering   by Anne Enright
    Walk the Blue Fields   by Claire Keegan
    Should Have Got Off at Sydney Parade   by Ross O’Carroll Kelly
    The Truth Commissioner   by David Parks
    The Parish   by Alice Taylor
    Bog Child   by Siobhan Dowd
    Lessons in Heartbreak   by Cathy Kelly
    Forgive and Forget   by Patricia Scanlan
    The Lovers   by John Connolly
    It’s a Long Way from Penny Apples   by Bill Cullen
    The Stolen Village   by Des Ekin
    Artemis Fowl   by Eoin Colfer
    Yours, Faithfully   by Sheila O’Flanagan
    The Sea   by John Banville
    With My Lazy Eye   by Julia Kelly
    Connemara: Listening to the Wind   by Tim Robinson
    In the Woods   by Tana French
    Tatty   by Christine Dwyer Hickey
    A Secret History of the IRA   by Ed Moloney
    The Master   by Colm Tóibín
    There Are Little Kingdoms   by Kevin Barry
    In the Forest   by Edna O’Brien
    Keane   by Roy Keane
    Havoc in Its Third Year   by Ronan Bennett
    Judging Dev   by Diarmaid Ferriter
    Netherland   by Joseph O’Neill
    That They May Face The Rising Sun   by John McGahern
    PS I Love You   by Cecelia Ahern
    Skulduggery Pleasant   by Derek Landy
    Foolish Mortals   by Jennifer Johnston

    • Michelle says:

      Story of Lucy Gault, Memoir or That They May Face the Rising Sun
      There are a few on the list that would struggle to be called literature.

    • mary says:

      Can’t get to the on-line voting site.
      ‘That They May Face the Rising Sun’ is my choice.
      What on earth is Cecelia Aherne doing on that list?

    • Kynos - the other K in O'Carroll Kelly says:

      What’s every focker except R.O.C.K doing on that list? I mean is this the VIP lounge in Lillies or what goys? Letting every passing skanger in are we?

    • Ro C says:

      That They May Face The Rising Sun seems to be easily the strongest on the list. Not strong competition with Ceclilia Ahern, dave McWilliams etc. My vote goes to There Are Little Kingdoms by Kevin Barry. It’s the second best book here and probaly won’t get any votes.

    • Aoibhin says:

      agree with Michelle, fluffy chick lit hardly deserves a place alongside John Mc Gahern and William Trevor

    • Fred Johnston says:

      I tried yesterday on RTE’s ‘Liveline’ to get across the point that this was little more than a publicity stunt by big publishers and had no literary merit. Two, possibly three titles from Irish publishers and no Irish-language contributions? Tells it’s own story, really. Ignorable.

    • Tony S says:

      Can’t get on to the site either.

      Agree with the above i.e. ‘Rising Sun’ or ‘The Master’

    • Carole says:

      How on earth can Derek Landy and Eoin Colfer compete with Colm Toibin and John McGahern, completely seperate considerations apply.

      As for PS I Love You – lets not even go there!

      ‘Havoc in its Third Year’ gets my vote

    • Fergal says:

      Is there anybody out there who reads both John Banville, Colm McCann, Anne Enright etc. and Cecilia, Kathy, Maeve etc. So how can any one person make this choice? I know that putting serious literature and chick-lit on the same list boosts interest in the prize but how can you have one set of criteria for these different books? Sounds like a way to bump up interest in books to me (and nothing wrong with that I suppose!).

    • kynos says:

      Think that online vote URL is broken Fiona.

    • James says:

      Cecelia Aherne is keeping Bill Cullen, David McWilliams & Roy Keane company I suppose.

      Have Bord Gáis nothing better to do with their money than sponsor this?

    • Marian says:

      I think that classifying Netherland by Joseph O’Neill as an Irish novel is stretching it a bit.

    • Niranjan says:

      Its a great collection, although I would have preferred Angela’s Ashes ahead of some of the books in the list. And yes, I too am not able to get through to the online link.

    • Eamonn Barrett says:

      Havoc in Its Third Year, The Sea and That They May Face the Rising sun are all exceptional novels. Hard to see much else on this list being read in a hundred year’s (ten?) time.

    • Mary O'Donnell says:

      The Secret Scripture, or Havoc in its Third Year. It’s an odd list but it shows what people are enjoying when they read.

    • Avid Reader says:

      I agree about the peculiarity of the mix but I think that anything that makes a person open a book and read in this age of instant gratification is a positive thing. In answer to Fergal’s comment, I have read a mix of these books and while I didn’t get much intellectual stimulation out of the chick lit experience, I know lots of people that do!

    • Siobhan says:

      Have to agree with the other commenters. Just having her on the list allows Cecilia Aherne to have “short-listed for Irish book of the decade” on the cover of all of her pap that she “writes”. It really cheapens the list and is an obvious bow to commercial interests.

    • Neil says:

      Silly list, no books in Irish, no poetry and no Nostos by John Moriarty one of the most remarkable texts written anywhere over the past ten years. The best here are The Sea and That they may face the rising sun. Fred Johnston is right it is a publicity stunt.

    • Jenny says:

      i’m torn between Havoc and Tatty! Both these writers are solid and very much underrated

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