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AuthorsTom Phelan

Tom Phelan Books

Tom Phelan had just turned fifty when his first novel, In the Season of the Daisies, was accepted for publication. One reviewer later wrote, "The most obvious question posed by a novelistic debut with as much resounding vigour as this is: Where has Mr. Phelan BEEN?"Since then, Tom has penned a memoir, We Were Rich and We Didn’t Know It: A Memoir of My Irish Boyhood, and five other novels: Nailer, The Canal Bridge, Iscariot, Derrycloney, and Lies the Mushroom Pickers Told. His novels deal with such themes as Irish soldiers in World War I, the effects of ancient animosities, returned emigrants, the Irish industrial schools, the priesthood, and life in rural Irish communities. In We Were Rich and We Didn’t Know It, Tom looks back on his formative years growing up in Co. Laois, Ireland, and working with his wise and demanding father as he sought to wrest a livelihood from a small farm.The Minneapolis Star Tribune says, “Tom Phelan's memoir of his boyhood is exceptional….Phelan's prose has an unpretentious beauty.…With rich detail and sensitivity, We Were Rich translates for us a rural world that has disappeared.” Newsday calls We Were Rich and We Didn’t Know It, is “a nimble exercise in storytelling…a series of richly detailed vignettes....Plain, honest, funny, occasionally sad and rich in material detail, this [is a] wonderful memoir....This is the real thing.”Kirkus Reviews gave the memoir a starred review, indicating a work of exceptional merit. It called the book "a tender recollection of growing up on a farm in Ireland” and said, “In precise, vibrant prose, Phelan creates...a captivating portrait of a bygone time." Publishers Weekly called We Were Rich “a rich and colorful snapshot of the times that shaped Phelan.” And the blog For the Love of Books said, “At a time when we have so much and are satisfied with none of it, Phelan’s story is one of grace and beauty.”In the Season of the Daisies, which centers on the 1921 IRA murder of a young boy and the effects on the survivors, was chosen for the Discover Great New Writers series sponsored by Barnes & Noble. It was also a finalist for the Discover Great New Writers Award.Iscariot tells the story of an expatriate ex-priest who returns to Ireland to face the past and stumbles across the suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of a young woman.In the humorous Derrycloney, Tom looks at life in the Irish countryside in the 1940s. He calls the book his "fanfare for the common man and woman" of his childhood.The Canal Bridge, set in Ireland and France in the First World War, is the story of two Irish soldiers – and the lovers and families they leave behind – as they struggle to survive the slaughterhouse that was Europe from 1914 to 1918. The Irish Independent calls it a “masterpiece…ambitious, accomplished and deeply moving.”Tom’s novel, Nailer, which Books Ireland calls "a hard-hitting thriller," is about a man determined to get revenge – or is it justice? It is set against the backdrop of Ireland's abusive industrial schools and the collusion between state and church that allowed them to flourish.Lies the Mushroom Pickers Told is a tale of two returned emigrants and their effect on the Irish village they call home. Shelf Awareness calls it “a masterful portrait of Irish village life disguised as a murder mystery.”For more information, please see
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Nailer book cover
Tom Phelan - 2011-06-07
Goodreads Rating
Two members of a religious Order are brutally murdered in this gripping mystery set in midland Ireland. Detectives Tom Breen and Jimmy Gorman must catch the killer, who is nicknamed Nailer. Investigative reporters Pauline Byron and Mick McGovern uncover a shocking truth about Ireland's Church-run industrial schools. Will justice be served?
Derrycloney book cover
Tom Phelan - 1999-12-01
Goodreads Rating
Experience the richly textured world of a small Irish countryside community in the 1940s with Tom Phelan's novel, which captures the rural rituals, local rivalries, and affections of the common men and women living there. Follow the lives of the unique characters in Derrycloney Lane, from Kate Glanvil trying to maintain peace to Billy Bates dreaming of Miss Hippwell. Through evocative language and keen powers of observation, Phelan's humorous and heartwarming fanfare to his childhood community is a must-read for those seeking a moving portrayal of Irish life.
The Brandon Book of Irish Short Stories book cover
The Brandon Book of Irish Short Stories
1998-01-01 (first published in 1997)
Goodreads Rating
A collection of 29 captivating Irish short stories covering various themes and subjects. Delve into the works of talented authors such as Roddy Doyle, Dermot Bolger, and Ursula de Brun. Lose yourself in stories of family, love, loss, and adventure.
In the Season of the Daisies book cover
In the Season of the Daisies
TOM PHELAN - 1998-04-01 (first published in 1994)
Goodreads Rating
A tragedy at a Protestant bottling house in 1921 sets the stage for this haunting novel. The events of that fateful night 27 years prior are pieced together through the perspectives of a cast of characters, each offering their own voice and version of the truth. With echoes of Faulkner and Joyce, the exquisite writing is akin to musical composition, building to a soul-bruising emotional denouement.
We Were Rich and We Didn't Know It book cover
We Were Rich and We Didn't Know It
A Memoir of My Irish Boyhood
Tom Phelan - 2019-03-05
Goodreads Rating
The memoir, We Were Rich and We Didn't Know It by Tom Phelan, is a heartwarming story of growing up in rural Ireland during the 1940s. The author shares his experiences working alongside his father to maintain their farm and survive in a time before modern conveniences like electricity and plumbing were available. Despite the hardships, Tom's memoir highlights the resilience of the human spirit and the importance of community and family bonds.
Iscariot book cover
Tom Phelan - 1995-12-01
Goodreads Rating
This Irish novel explores themes of guilt, memory, and the consequences of one's actions. Follow a haunted priest as he confronts the return of a childhood friend, and the dark past they share, in a small village.
Lies the Mushroom Pickers Told book cover
Lies the Mushroom Pickers Told
A Novel
Tom Phelan - 2017-03-07 (first published in 2015)
Goodreads Rating
A journalist returns to his small Irish hometown to investigate two childhood deaths that were ruled as accidents, but he believes were murders. As he delves into the past and questions the locals, a web of secrets and relationships unravels. Part mystery and part human comedy, this captivating story provides a unique and engrossing portrait of village life in Ireland.