Irish Novels to Look Out for In 2023: Part Two! #readingirelandmonth23

There are so many great novels from Irish writers slated for release this year that I had to split my list in two, so here are another six to whet your appetite!

How to Build a Boat by Elaine Feeney

April, Penguin

Elaine Feeney follows up her wonderful debut As You Were with a new novel, which sounds uplifting and emotional. How to Build a Boat is the story of how Jamie, a thirteen-year-old boy who wants to build a Perpetual Motion machine and connect with his mother, who died giving birth to him.  His mission transforms the lives of his teachers, Tess and Tadhg, and brings together a community.

The blurb on Penguin’s website says that the novel is ‘written with tenderness and verve, it’s about love, family and connection, the power of imagination, and how our greatest adventures never happen alone.’

Ordinary Human Failings by Megan Nolan

July, Penguin

Following the success of her debut novel Acts of Desperation, Nolan is back with a new novel.  Set in 1990s London, Ordinary Human Failings follows a reporter stumbles across a scoop: a dead child on a London estate, grieving parents loved across the neighbourhood, and the finger of suspicion pointing at one reclusive family of Irish immigrants and ‘bad apples’: the Greens. This sounds like a very different proposition from Nolan’s debut, which I didn’t really get on with, but I much prefer the sound of this follow-up.

Tell Me What I Am by Una Mannion

August, Faber

American-born and Sligo-based poet and author Una Mannion follow up her debut novel A Crooked Tree with a new novel, which seems to be heading into thriller territory. Year ago, Nessa’s sister disappeared and Nessa always thought that her husband had killed her. Now her niece, Ruby is starting to have doubts about what happened to her mother. Over fourteen years and four hundred miles apart, these two women try to unearth their tangled family history. Mannion is a fantastic poet and I have a feeling that this will be thriller with a literary bent.

The Trap by Catherine Ryan Howard

August, Random House

Catherine Ryan Howard is turning into something of a powerhouse when it comes to producing page-turning, high concept crime thrillers. Following on from last year’s lockdown-set murder mystery 56 Days, she returns with The Trap, where Lucy turns herself into ‘bait’ in an attempt to find out what happened to her sister, who has been missing for a year. I really enjoyed her previous novel The Nothing Man and it sounds like The Trap will be just as enjoyable.

The Wren, The Wren by Anne Enright

September, Penguin

A new novel from Anne Enright is always cause for a celebration and she returns this September with The Wren, The Wren, a generational family saga exploring the lives of a mother and daughter and the shadow cast over their lives by family patriarch, an acclaimed Irish poet. Thematically, this sounds quite similar to Actress, and it takes its name from Wren Day, an ancient Celtic celebration held on 26 December, where a wren was hunted and sacrificed to bring in the New Year.

This Plague of Souls by Mike McCormack

November, Tramp Press

McCormack’s debut, Solar Bones, was longlisted for the Booker Prize in 2017, so this follow-up has a lot to live up to. This Plague of Souls follows a man named Nealon, recently released from jail, who returns to his family home in the West of Ireland only to find an empty house. It seems the world has forgotten that he even existed. The one exception is a persistent caller on the telephone, someone who seems to know everything about Nealon’s life, his confusing bother with the law and, more importantly, what has happened to his family. All Nealon needs to do is talk with the stranger…

I love the sound of this dark, twisty novel, which will be published by the ever-reliable Tramp Press, in November.

Has anything here gone on your wishlist?

Irish Literature Monthly Miscellany

Cathy746books View All →

I am a 40 something book buying addict trying to reduce the backlog one book at a time!

25 Comments Leave a comment

  1. How to Build a Boat sounds lovely!

    I’ll be posting on the Anne Enright I’ve read for Reading Ireland Month soon, and I’d forgotten how brilliant she is, so I’m excited to see a new release from her too.


  2. Ooh, this Plague of Souls does sound good, that one really jumps out for me. I haven’t read his earlier work, but if Tramp Press are publishing it, I’m doubly on it!

    Thanks for highlighting these books Cathy, it’s such a joy to read your Irish literary news posts.


  3. Thanks for these suggestions! Will check them out. I’ve just posted a review of ‘Foster’ by Claire Keegan on Ripple Effects. I know others have reviewed it already, but just want to share my ripples of this marvellous work. 🙂
    Thanks for hosting the Reading Irish book event, Cathy!

    Liked by 1 person

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