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Broken Irish [Kindle Edition]

Edward J. Delaney
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Print List Price: $18.50
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Book Description

“Epic in its scope but relentlessly compelling in its storytelling—not a common combination—Broken Irish is a splendidly readable and richly textured novel. Edward J. Delaney is an enormously gifted writer.” —ROBERT OLEN BUTLER

"In Edward J. Delaney's South Boston little is lost, nothing forgotten. Old sins, old wounds haunt his characters, young and old, and reverberate throughout his wonderfully complicated plot. Broken Irish is an enthralling, satisfying novel." —MARGOT LIVESEY

"An entire community is on the brink. Hope is the only hope. And faith cannot scrub the grime off its hands. With Broken Irish, Edward J. Delaney delivers a gripping epic." —ADAM BRAVER

As the millennium approaches, “Southie” is still a place where little distinguishes mob bosses from pillars of industry, the bullied from the bullies, and the pious from the pitiful. In this tough Boston neighborhood, six lives are about to converge… Jimmy, an alcoholic writer, whose life is unalterably changed after witnessing an accident; Jeanmarie, a teenage runaway, whose quest for independence leads down a dark path; Christopher, a young Catholic school dropout with a gnawing secret; Colleen, a war widow whose grief has blinded her to the needs of her son; Father John, a priest on the eve of forced retirement; and Rafferty, a wealthy businessman who hires a ghostwriter to tell his story.

In Broken Irish, Delaney trains his journalist’s ear, his filmmaker’s eye, and his writer’s heart on each of their stories—creating a driven and deeply human narrative that pierces the heart of the American experience. He also gives us a captivating portrait of late-1990s South Boston at the crossroads—a time when “Whitey Bulger has evaporated into the ether but his boys still kick around on the street corners . . . waiting for Whitey’s Second Coming.”

Editorial Reviews


"A masterpiece... highly recommended" - Library Journal (starred review)

"When the fateful stars of [Delaney's] style and syntax align just right, the page glistens with poetic charisma." - The Brooklyn Rail

"A nuanced and elegant novel"  -

"The novel has a complex plot and a driving, fast-paced narrative. [Delaney] eventually reveals unexpected connections among the troubled souls in this highly recommended book." - The Star-Tribune, Minneapolis

Editor's Choice, ALA Booklist, as one of the "best books of 2011"

“Truly indelible. . . . [Delaney] cares about details and understands their importance to the larger themes of loss, desperation, and betrayed loyalties. His characters are not merely vehicles for ideas, but rather fully realized, familiar people, whose failures are heartbreakingly authentic.” —Boston Globe

“In an artfully constructed story . . . Delaney tackles corporate corruption, the sex-abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, gun violence, and, especially, alcoholism (in searing passages on the ravages of drink that recall Malcolm Lowry’s Under the Volcano).” —Booklist (starred review)

“Readers will be captivated. The author continues to demonstrate great dexterity and storytelling acumen in his lyrical page-turner.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Delaney plots his narrative through parallel story lines, all of which elegantly converge at the end of the novel. . . . [keeping] the incipient tragedy beautifully and heartbreakingly balanced.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Muscular and taut . . . a great story that reaches into a reader’s life [and] poses important questions about people, fate and community.” —Shelf Awareness for Readers

“If you're anything like me, you Will. Not. Be. Able. To. Stop. Reading.” —The Quivering Pen

About the Author

Edward J. Delaney is the winner of a 2008 Literary Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, the 2005 L.L. Winship/PEN New England Award for fiction, and a past winner of the O.Henry Prize for short story writing. His work has been included in Best American Short Stories (edited by Jane Smiley) and he has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award. He has published short stories and essays in The Atlantic. In addition to a novel, Warp and Weft, and The Drowning and Other Stories, Delaney co-authored Born to Play by Boston Red Sox second baseman and 2008 American League Most Valuable Player Dustin Pedroia.

Product Details

  • File Size: 452 KB
  • Print Length: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Turtle Point Press (September 6, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005IG5YVQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #833,341 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A WONDERFUL NOVEL, BUT... October 14, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I finished Edward Delaney's "Broken Irish" yesterday and have been walking
around with a sense of loss since then. I wish I had been able to put it down so
I would still have some left.

I read a lot. I read all kinds of stuff, including a lot of junk. There are
some things I start but can't finish -- suckered once again by a good review of bad
writing. Fortunately, the good review I read of "Broken Irish" steered me right.

Delaney's characters simply do not miss. There is not a single wrong note and all of
us have known at least one of these people at some time. We want to
fix things for them. We want to yell and scream and straighten them out. It is
all so real, so there.

I feel as if I have discovered a wonderful author I never knew before. Hats off to Turtle Point Press for making this gem possible.

Now we come to the trouble: the e version via Amazon/Kindle is riddled with typos
on every page, so annoying to the reader that the errors intrude on what should be
a perfect reading experience. $9.99 for this, Amazon you should be ashamed. How this carelessness happened, I have no real idea except it seems to be a scanning problem. I read many e-books and they always have errors but this is so far the worst. The hard copies are fine.

Amazon simply must do something to make this right -- for the author, especially. After all, it is his WORK you've messed with. Show some respect. Do the right thing.

Elinore Standard Burlington VT
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow...what a story. October 7, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Edward Delaney's new novel, "Broken Irish" is some piece of excellent writing. Set in "Southie" - South Boston - in the late 1990's, Delaney focuses on six main characters. They range from an aging priest, a mother and son who lost the one man who bound them together, a run-away 16 year old girl, a drunken writer, who sobers up only to learn he's dying, and a titan-of-industry. All come together - sort of, anyway - at the end of the story. All are Irish-Americans and all of them - whether or not they're still living in "Southie" - carry the secrets and sins of the area. "Southie" is both a town and a mindset, and most natives can't leave it behind, no matter how far they travel in life.

Delaney's novel is not easy reading, nor is it for the faint-of-heart. Major problems like clergy sexual abuse, alcoholism, prostitution and pornography are matters of fact in the story. Delaney's writing is so precise that the reader becomes caught up in the problems, but never loses sight of the humanity of the characters. At the end of the book, I was left wondering what happened next. I wanted Delaney to write another novel, with the same characters to bring me up-to-date. Wanting to read more is the mark of an excellent novel to me, and there are very few authors or novels that I feel that way about. "Broken Irish" is one, though.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bleak Boston October 14, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a rather bleak but satisfying novel about a South Boston before gentrification changed it's character. The reader will discover a neighborhood and its inhabitants set ways and traditions are losing to the inroads of changing times and demographics. This is mirrored in the struggles of several citizens young, middle aged and older. The author has real insight into aspects of the recent pedophiliac clergy scandal in the Hub. Delaney ranks with the Late Edwin O'Connor and the still prolific James Carroll who gave us Mortal Friends.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wicked good December 31, 2011
By Irene D
Delaney did such a good job of developing the characters that I almost gave this book a luke warm review because I didn't like any of the adults. The mother of the runaway boy is especially pathetic in her inability to deal with her troubled son. Having lived in Boston and known people from Southie, I could easily visualize it. Cardinal Law, the B line, BC, the Channel -- he captured them all. I got a little impatient waiting to see how all the characters were linked. Nonetheless, the book kept my attention and it was a wicked 'good trip back down memory lane.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable May 5, 2013
By westie
I wish I had written Elinore Standard's review of this wonderful book. Captured within her assessment was everything I felt bout "Broken Irish." I was so sorry that it had to end but I too couldn't put it down once I began to read. It was just by chance that I picked it up but will certainly look for any and everything Mr. Delaney has written. He has a marvelous ability to bring the reader directly into the story, and you can't ask for more. As a Bostonian, it captured Southie's flavor in a heartbreaking way.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Looking for another Delaney book! March 8, 2012
By Ellen
This book is superbly written and excellently crafted. The characters here are real; one wants to slap them, kick them, hug them. To me, the narration has a subtle and indirect, very Irish, quality. The best book my Boston-area, partly Irish, book group has read in a long time, and a great discussion prompter!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed it immensely. November 25, 2012
I picked up this book based on the title alone. I started it and once I started, I didn't stop reading until it was finished. Great story. Kind of pulpy but in a literary way. It's something of a mystery novel, but it captures its setting (South Boston) in a very real way.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting January 20, 2014
Of all the books written about Southie, this is by far the best book I have ever read on the subject. What a beautifully written book. The characters were made so alive by the author. Tremendous work.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb
One of the best books that I have ever read! It was an absolute delight to read and hard to put down!
Published 3 months ago by Michael S. Finer
5.0 out of 5 stars I highly recommend this book
Delaney's book tells the dark tale of five Irish Americans who are growing or have grown up in South Boston.

known as "Southie" to most Bostonians. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Richard W. Wise
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great work of fiction. Enjoyed it a lot.
Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars A Boston Tale
Delaney's book tells the dark tale of five Irish Americans who are growing or have grown up in South Boston.

known as "Southie" to most Bostonians. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Richard W. Wise
5.0 out of 5 stars I was constantly trying to figure out how to make their life better -...
Well written stories about the community in south Boston during their troubled times.....I was constantly trying to figure out how to make their life better - they were all mired... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Michele Axtmann
5.0 out of 5 stars Where are the Awards?
Have the literary award judges even read this book? What a wonderfully written, evocative novel! The characters and locale come alive.
Published 15 months ago by John Capano
Broken Irish is a fantastic book—it presents the old South Boston (1990s) lifestyle through many lenses: it tells the story of a priest, the child he abused, the mother of the... Read more
Published 16 months ago by E. Henshon
4.0 out of 5 stars Wish I could write like this!
Characters and story lines wonderfully written. Although I kept hoping for some glimmer of light in these tragic lives, I read on, not able to put the book down. Good good writer. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Sarabeth C. Fuller
4.0 out of 5 stars Broken Irish
Broken iIrsh is one of those books that is a good but hard read. It's not a pleasant book but dark, dealing with the hardships of several characters in a dark relationship as each... Read more
Published on September 7, 2012 by Janet Perantoni
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Read!
I truly enjoyed this well-written, intelligent novel and was sorry it had to end. The characters are believable without being over-done and the ending leads you to think about what... Read more
Published on August 18, 2012 by Hockey Mom
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More About the Author

Edward J. Delaney is an author, journalist, filmmaker and educator.

He has been a recipient of a 2008 Literary Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and a winner of the 2005 PEN/Winship Award for Fiction. His work has been anthologized in Prize Stories: The O.Henry Awards and in Best American Short Stories. As a journalist he is a past winner of the National Education Reporting Award, and well as other national and regional awards.

He has published three books of fiction. "Warp & Weft" and "The Drowning and Other Stories" appeared in 1999 and 2004. "Broken Irish" was published in Fall 2011 by Turtle Point Press. Delaney has published short stories in The Atlantic and other magazines and quarterlies. He was also the co-author of "Born to Play," by Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia (Simon & Schuster 2009).

Delaney has directed and produced two documentary films. "The Times Were Never So Bad: The Life of Andre Dubus," premiered in 2007. It received a first place at The Rhode Island International Film Festival. "Library of the Early Mind" debuted at Harvard University's Askwith Forums in October 2010 and has screened at universities, libraries and museums nationally.

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