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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: December 15, 2010 @ 9:49 pm

    What’s that, Skip? Paul Murray has got another plaudit?

    Laurence Mackin

    It seems us Irish folk are getting validation from all over the globe at the moment – once we’re talking about arts that is, and not that whole finance/banks/nama shmama situation.

    First, Nialler9 gets named as one of the top five music blogs in the world (high fives all round) and then Paul Murray gets named in Time magazine’s top 10 fiction books of the year. He didn’t just scrape in either – he pushed no less than Jonathan Franzen and Jennifer Egan down to the wire and took third spot.

    As the year draws to a close, journalists spend their time doing two things – looking back over the previous 11-ish months, and looking forward to what will be lighting up our lives in the next 12 months (so never, ever release anything in December if you want some decent media coverage).

    While the music journos across the board have been rejoicing in what a quality year it has been for Irish music – and they are not wrong, thanks to the likes of Villagers, And So I Watch You From Afar, Two Door Cinema Club, O Emperor, Jennifer Evans, James Vincent McMorrow, Halves, Strands, ah I’ll stop now because yer all making me sick – we’ve also had a cracker of a year on the literature front, and perhaps this has slipped under the arts radar a touch.

    Skippy Dies is the book everyone has been talking about, but Colm Toibin brought out a fine collection, John Boyne’s latest children’s book is going down a storm, I’m looking forward to reading Neil Jordan’s new work, Emma Donoghue was grabbing all the international plaudits, and there were some excellent additions to the sporting books canon, which in itself an often overlooked section. Derek Landy is all set to become a household name, Seamus Heaney is in effortlessly magisterial form, and again I’ll stop now because etc and so on.

    So hats off to Messer Murray, thoroughly deserving of all the plaudits and back slaps heading his way. We might be rubbish at managing our finances but, as a nation, we still know how to spin a yarn or two. And bedam ye can’t put a price on that.

    And because everyone loves a lovely list, here is that Time magazine top 10:

    Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
    A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
    Skippy Dies by Paul Murray (hurrah!)
    The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell
    Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon
    Wilson by Daniel Clowes
    Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes
    How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu
    The Passage by Justin Cronin
    Faithful Place by Tana French

    • Dave McG says:

      How Justin Cronin’s ‘The Passage’ got in there i’ll never know?! And could easily be a sign that this list is easily compromised – not to detract from the plaudits that Paul Murray deserves.

      That book was honestly one of the worst things i’ve ever read.
      It made no sense, pretty much used the same description for every character, was incredibly uneven and badly paced, it had some of the most bewildering descriptions of events that i’ve ever come across… it… it… i don’t know. It was just f**king woeful!
      Ugh, seeing it on a list of top books of the year is actually making me angry.

      Someone tell me i’m not alone!

    • Ali says:

      It’s been a great year – but shouldn’t we also be congratulating Tana French for making that list?!


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