Books by Dermot Healy

LONG TIME, NO SEE by Dermot Healy
Released: July 2, 2012

"An affecting account of the love that leaps across a generation."
A young man holds his grief over the death of a friend in check by watching over his granduncle; a quietly impressive (if overlong) fourth novel from the Irish Healy (Sudden Times, 2000, etc.). Read full book review >
SUDDEN TIMES by Dermot Healy
Released: Aug. 19, 2000

"American readers will want a glossary of Anglo-Irish slang, but anyone who reads this will catch the brooding strangeness of this eerie, difficult book."
One man's descent into the hell of madness, pursued by men who may have killed his best friend, as told by the acclaimed novelist and poet (The Bend for Home, 1998, etc.).Read full book review >
THE BEND FOR HOME by Dermot Healy
Released: March 1, 1998

Eschewing straightforward chronicle, Irish poet and novelist Healy (A Goat's Song, 1995), born in 1947, re-creates his upbringing through a series of impressionistic word-pictures and characterizationsmost poignantly of his father, a policeman who retired early due to ill health. Writes Healy, taking his bearings here, ``What happened is a wonder, though memory is always incomplete, like a map with places missing.'' The young boy felt trapped with his family's move from the small village of Finea to the town of Cavan, where they lived above the busy bakery-tearoom operated by his aunt Maisie and his mother, Winnie. He and his father were both sleepwalkers, seeking escape in night dreams (``most nights we set off for Finea''). Healy gives little description of how he grew to be a man in London, though he does allow a self-deprecating glimpse ahead to the writer who returns home to find himself fabricating, to the editor of the local paper, a literary success he's not yet achieved. Thematically and stylistically, Healy's talents are ever on display here; the occasional sustained heroic catalogue of Cavan, for examplethe author piling clause upon vivid clause, like so many layers of frostingproviding technical tours-de-force; though his later experience at Saint Patrick's Secondary College, rendered primarily through re-created diary entries, is far less memorable. In closing as he flash-forwards to the 1990s and his return to Cavan to care for his aged mother, infirm and losing her faculties, Healy evokes the surprising bawdiness of the old woman's humor and ruminates on an imaginary place, Hy Brazil, like another Atlantis rising out of the sea, out beyond where the author lives, in North Sligo. The island, he concludes, is, like life, ``peopled with uncertainties.'' With his descriptive talent and his knack for making comedy out of tragedy, Healy has written a beautiful, imaginative, full- blooded memoir. Read full book review >
A GOAT'S SONG by Dermot Healy
Released: Nov. 1, 1995

From the author of 1986's Fighting with Shadows comes this sprawling novel about one Irish couple caught in a labyrinth of love and hate, in a torn nation that publicly mirrors their private strife. Jack, a playwright and fisherman just off the sea, is pining for his girlfriend Catherine and driving himself mad with drink and waiting. Catherine refuses to see him again unless he's sober, but by the time he is, it's too late: She won't take him back. In the middle section of the book, Jack tells Catherine's story before returning to more of his own drunken ramblings. Catherine was born in Northern Ireland to an aging Presbyterian policeman and his Republican, and Methodist, young wife. Jonathan Adams, the father, was a failed minister who joined the Royal Ulster Constabulary. Ulster has been changing around Adamshis quiet country police station has been transformed into a gated fortressand one day, while assigned to keep the peace during a Republican demonstration, he instead became enraged at a protester, wielded his baton, and instigated a bloody riot. Soon after, his Catholic friend and neighbor hanged himself from a tree. Shocked by what he had become, and contributed to, Adams succumbed to his wife's pleas to buy an old lightkeeper's house on the barren west coast of Ireland as their retreat from violence and the site of Jonathan's attempts at redemption. Jonathan died when Catherine was a young woman, and, meeting Jack Ferris, she quickly shifted her emotional attentions to him. Their relationship became as obsessive as her father's faith, and, stewed in liquor and paranoia, their destruction, like Ireland's, seemed driven by its own startling momentum. Catherine's story is the heart of this novel, with Jack's drunken bookendsoverlong and adding littlesurrounding it. Healy, however, does have an encompassing eye, and a terrific sense of the Irish people and their great good humor. An epic and compelling lament that just goes on a little too long. Read full book review >