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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
In the midland counties of Laois and Offaly, two former members of the religious Order of Saint Kieran, which once ran Dachadoo Industrial School for boys, are murdered within weeks of each other, their bodies found nailed to the floor. Detectives Tom Breen and Jimmy Gorman are assigned to track down Nailer, as the killer is nicknamed. They warn lo...
Derrycloney book cover
Tom Phelan - 2010-07-20
Goodreads Rating
In his novel Derrycloney, Tom Phelan brilliantly captures the voices and characters of a small community in the Irish countryside in the 1940s. The rural rituals, the local rivalries, the affections and disaffections--all are caught in richly textured language in what the author calls his “fanfare to the common men and women of my childhood.”�At th...
Contents:Twenty-nine Palms by Mary O'DonnellA Drive by Philip MacCannThe Lip by Roddy DoyleSigns by Ursula de BrunThe Girl in the Yellow Dress by Patrick QuigleyTo Prevent Rust, Weeping and Bleeding by Sara BerkeleyWax by Jennifer C. CornellCharlie Chaplin's Wishbone by Aidan MathewsFather's Music by Dermot BolgerLosing Claire by Molly McCloskeyBag...
Iscariot book cover
Tom Phelan - 2013-02-14 (first published in 1995)
Goodreads Rating
From the author of IN THE SEASON OF DAISIES, a novel set in Ireland about a priest haunted by the memory of a ghastly crime, and the consequences which resurface after the return of a childhood friend to the village....
In the Season of the Daisies book cover
In the Season of the Daisies
TOM PHELAN - 2012-04-18 (first published in 1994)
Goodreads Rating
In 1921, five "big stupid eejits" botch a muddle-headed IRA action. As the result of their mighty blow for freedom—a midnight massacre of porter barrels at a Protestant bottling house—young Willie Doolin is brutally murdered and his twin brother Seanie is beaten and traumatized, escaping with his life, but not his sanity. 27 years later, the events...
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 - 2020-03-03
Goodreads Rating
In the tradition of Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes and Alice Taylor’s To School Through the Fields, Tom Phelan’s We Were Rich and We Didn't Know It is a heartfelt and masterfully written memoir of growing up in Ireland in the 1940s.Tom Phelan, who was born and raised in County Laois in the Irish midlands, spent his formative years working with his ...
Lies the Mushroom Pickers Told book cover
Lies the Mushroom Pickers Told
A Novel
Tom Phelan - 2015-02-03
Goodreads Rating
When journalist Patrick Bracken returns to Gohen, the Irish village where he was born, he knows the eyes of the townspeople are on him. He has come home to investigate two deaths that happened decades earlier when he was a child, deaths that were ruled accidental. But Patrick knows—and believes the whole town knows—they were murders. He knows becau...