30 Sep 2016

The New Torchlight List: Ireland

From Sunday Morning, 11:00 am on 30 September 2016
Edna O'Brien

Edna O'Brien Photo: Flickr.com / Bobbie Hanvey Photographic Archives, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

William Yeats, James Joyce, George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett, Edna O'Brien, Seamus Heaney... Ireland’s contribution to literature is quite extraordinary.

Over the last six years Jim Flynn read and rated 400 books – mostly by modern novelists – for The New Torchlight List: In Search of the Best Modern Authors.

In this 10-part series, Wallace Chapman quizzes Jim and takes him to task on his selections.

82 year old Jim Flynn is old is a world expert on human intelligence, but claims no credentials as a literary critic – he just loves to read a good book.

On John Banville:

“When I read The Sea, I thought this is a truly great novelist.” (Jim particularly loves The Untouchable)

On Sebastian Barry:

"The only one who matches Banville in style."

On Colm Tóibín:

“I think Tóibín can write, there’s no doubt about it. And Brooklyn is his best.”

On John Boyne:

"Stylistically not quite up to Banville and Barry, but he has a wonderful choice of dialogue." (Jim is not a fan of The Boy in Striped Pyjamas, which he finds "sentimental")

On Edna O'Brien's The Country Girls (which was banned in Ireland in 1960):

"The business of the sex is today incredibly tame stuff, but some of the writing is very good."

Catch up on earlier episodes:
The Need to Read
North America
South America
United Kingdom

The Torchlight List: Jim Flynn goes Around the World in 200 Books