Pat Byrne
(of Ten Writers Telling Lies)

Friday 10th January 2020

Q1) The first book you ever loved

Anne of Green Gables by L.Montgomery. Anne made an impression on me but also loved lots of Enid Blyton books. The one I mainly remember is The Mountain of Adventure.

Q2) The book you’ve read more than any other

It’s fairly unusual for me to read a book over again but I enjoyed Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Ketteridge with all the intertwining lives of her characters. I’ve recently bought Olive, Again so looking forward to that. In between reading novels the two books of short stories I often pick up and that sit on the bedside table are Joyce’s The Dubliners and Bernard MacLaverty’s Collected Stories.

Q3) A book you despise

Never thought of this but not attracted to books such as Fifty Shades of Grey – seems to me of the pulpy, money making genre.

Q4) A book full of beautiful writing

The Garden Party and Other Stories - Katherine Mansfield. I really admire this writer. She has the ability to tell stories that are simultaneously simple yet complex. The Garden Party is an example of this approach – it’s a favourite of mine with its beautiful descriptions of flowers that are not too flowery. Particularly enjoyable is the elusive nature of the story, not neatly summed up but with questions raised for the reader – and for Laura, the main character.

Q5) The book you’ve been meaning to read for years, but haven’t

Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man. This Joyce classic has been sitting neglected on my bookshelf for many years. It’s a slim book so no excuse. I’ve looked it out. :-)

Q6) The book you’re reading currently

Orchid and the Wasp – Caoilinn Hughes. I’m working my way through the International Dublin Award nominations. Loved both Sally Rooney’s Normal People and Liz Nugent’s Skin Deep. I’m just getting into Caoillinn Hughes’ novel set in Dublin and enjoying her humour and lively writing style – Gael seems all set to be a very memorable character.

Q7) Your favourite short story

The Dead – James Joyce. I love everything about this story. The vivid imagery, fantastic dialogue and the richness of the emotions felt by the characters. The revelation of a disturbing memory that alters the understanding of Gabriel and Gretta’s relationship is perfectly depicted by Joyce. I’ll never tire of this piece of writing.

Q8) Your all-time favourite novel

This changes overtime and have many favourites but the book I have lent out more than any other for a number of years is Stoner – John Williams, a thoroughly well-crafted work. However, recently I’ve been blown away by Kerry Hudson’s Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-cream Float Before He Stole My Ma – would never have believed that I would be so enthralled by a book where the narrator is a very young child. ●

Pat Byrne writes features and reviews for her website, which is now 20 years old. Aged 68, Pat joined the MLitt Creative Writing Course at Glasgow Uni and started writing short stories. Her work has been performed on the University's sub-city radio and included in 'Ten Writers Telling Lies' and other anthologies.
t: @glasgowswestend


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