Summer Reads


As summer kicks in and the holidays stretch ahead of us, we’re bringing you a spotlight on a mix of recently published and upcoming books to inspire your summer reading. Whether you love historical fiction, short stories, psychological drama, coming-of-age stories, folklore, poetry, or a mix of all the above, we’ve got something for everyone!


The Heart in Winter by Kevin Barry 

Kevin Barry’s latest novel, a savagely funny, achingly beautiful tale set in the Wild West, draws us back in time to October, 1891; to the snowy heights and rowdy mining town of Butte, Montana, where we find Tom Rourke, a young poet and balladmaker, but also a doper, a drinker and a fearsome degenerate. When Polly Gillespie arrives in town as the new bride of the devout mine captain, a thunderbolt love affair takes spark between Tom and Polly, and they strike out west on a stolen horse, moving through the badlands of Montana and Idaho. Briefly an idyll of wild romance perfects itself. But a posse of deranged Cornish gunsmen are soon in hot pursuit of the lovers, and closing in fast. A wild adventure with one of Ireland’s master storytellers.

Published by Canongate



Ravelling by Estelle Birdy

Set in Dublin’s Liberties, this explosively original debut novel channels the energies and agonies of five young men – Deano, Hamza, Oisín, Benit and Karl – navigating the tumultuous trajectory of youth and young manhood, where they balance their hopes with the harsh realities of their present. Bound by friendship, place and the memories of those who’ve died too soon, these young men grapple with race, class, sex, parties, poverty, violence and Garda harassment, all while wondering what it means to be a man in twenty-first century Ireland. Ravelling’s diverse, captivating cast of characters, rendered in pin-sharp dialogue reminiscent of Roddy Doyle, leaves the reader with an immersive sense of multicultural Ireland. Fast-paced, funny and eye-popping, it descends from Trainspotting, White Teeth and Milkman in its portrayal of urban life in the twenty-first century, and has been optioned by Sleeper Films for a major TV series.

Published by The Lilliput Press


Cork Stories, edited by Madeleine D’Arcy and Laura McKenna

The stories in this collection of short fiction are set throughout the neighbourhoods of Cork city and county by writers who live or have lived in Cork. Some of the stories present vivid portraits of the neighbourhoods using specific landmarks and detail; others capture the spirit of the neighbourhoods and its people. Together the stories celebrate Cork and the people who live there. Writers featured in Cork Stories include: Kevin Barry, Tadhg Coakley, Danny Denton, Martina Evans, Marie Gethins, Danielle McLaughlin, Oonagh Montague, Mary Morrissy, Grainne Murphy, Jamie O’Connell, Mel O’Doherty, Eileen O’Donoghue, Anne O’Leary, Tina Pisco, Sean Tanner, William Wall and Fiona Whyte.

Published by Doire Press



The Playdate by Clara Dillon

Two mothers. Two daughters. Two sides to the story. When Sara leaves her high-flying London life to move to Dublin, her only concern is helping her nine-year-old daughter, Lexie, to settle in. Getting friendly with the local mothers seems like a good start but they’re not interested, none less than their leader, the beautiful and charismatic Vanessa, whose daughter rules the playground. After a simple misunderstanding between Vanessa and Sara, Sara tries to make amends by organising a playdate at her house, but things take a drastic turn. This propulsive debut novel is a tense psychological drama of community dynamics and how far a mother will go to protect her daughter. 

Published by Sandycove




Way Out West by Anthony Glavin 

Fintan Doherty’s 1950s childhood in Glenbay, Donegal, is filled with two things: tales of America told by a plethora of ‘returned Yanks’ and the silent sadness after his mother’s death. This novel takes us on a gentle coming-of-age journey, travelling to the States via Europe, then from Ohio to Boston, experiencing an eclectic and diverse array of jobs, rented rooms, landscapes, acquaintances, friends and lovers, each one either confirming or confounding his idea of the land he now inhabits. His life as a new emigrant is underscored by his search for a painting of his mother by an American artist who once visited the home place long before Fintan was born. A story that will enthral with its texture and world-building, the many delicately and affectionately observed characters and its subtle reflections on trauma, loss and a hope that somehow renews.

Published by New Island


High Jump as Icarus Story by Gustav Parker Hibbett

This stunningly accomplished debut, gifting us visions of flight and falling, deconstructs and redefines notions of Blackness, queerness, and masculinity through the lenses of myth, pop culture, and that most transcendent of sports – the high jump. Formally inventive, these poems speak in a vulnerable, rapturous voice that urges us to reimagine our possible selves, while navigating a labyrinthine America that conjures its young into monsters. Taking us from the arroyos of New Mexico to a West Cork farm in winter, these meditations on beauty and the elusive nature of love are insightful and hard-won: the spirit triumphs, even when the body falls.

Published by Banshee Press




An Invitation to the Kennedys by Emily Hourican

Newly published in paperback, ideal to bring away as a holiday read, An Invitation to the Kennedys draws us back in time to the 1930s, and a world of glamour, drama and high society. Kathleen ‘Kick’ Kennedy, recently arrived from Boston, is already a huge hit in 1930s London’s most elite social circles. But when she falls for a duke-in-waiting, she realises there are plenty of people who think she doesn’t belong. Lady Brigid Guinness has no interest in love, marriage or society connections. But her brother-in-law Chips has other ideas – and seems intent on pushing her towards a match with a dull German prince. During a weekend at Chips’ country estate, Brigid and Kick discover that beneath the brittle facade of politeness, marriages are on the rocks, political intrigue abounds and nothing is really as it seems. Inspired by real-life events, this is a captivating read about two fascinating women and the times they lived in.

Published by Hachette Ireland


The Whispering Land by Carsten Krieger

Ireland’s landscape is steeped in folklore and history, and the untamed Atlantic seaboard is no exception. Stretching from the Inishowen Peninsula in Donegal to Kinsale in Cork, the Wild Atlantic Way encompasses 2,500 kilometres of spectacular coastline and a wealth of folktales passed down through generations. In this beguiling combination of photography, folklore and history, renowned landscape photographer Carsten Krieger immerses us in the wild beauty of Ireland’s western periphery, seeks out these ancient legends and myths, and explores their origins. The result is a captivating new perspective on the Wild Atlantic Way and its stories.

Published by Merrion Press




Whatever you’re picking up this summer, we wish you plenty of great reading time, and as it’s Independent Bookshop Week, we also encourage you to support the brilliant independent bookshops we have in this country, whether it’s buying a book, or simply giving them a follow or share online to help spread the word about great places selling great Irish books!



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