Frank Delaney

The Irish author on stories to return to again and again.

Beforeturning his hand to novels, Frank Delaney had made his name as a broadcaster, reporting on the “Troubles” inIreland and Northern Ireland in the 1970s, and later developing such innovativeprograms on language, culture, and history as Word of Mouth and The Celts.His first book, James Joyce’s Odyssey, appeared in 1970, and his recentnovels Ireland, Tipperary and Shannon have beeninternational bestsellers. His latest, The Matchmaker of Kenmare, follows a mystery intothe heart of rural Ireland, in the midst of World War Two. Frank Delaney sharedwith us three of his favorite works of fiction.

Books by Frank Delaney

The Great Gatsby

By F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, remains the most perfect novel that has ever come out of the United States. Everything in the book moves as it should, in the manner of a piece by Bach or Mozart. All the images and metaphors click and whirr like the parts of a shiny machine; and in a book so slim it is astonishing always to find something new by way of moral power.”


By James Joyce

“Every week, on my website, I upload a specifically unpretentious podcast designed to deconstruct James Joyce’s mighty novel, Ulysses, reference by reference, so that I can share this gigantic pleasure. If it takes me twenty-five years, that will be wonderful, because I have never learned as much from any literary resource and have never had so much happiness while examining any work of art.”

The Day of the Jackal

By Frederick Forsyth

The Day of the Jackal, by Frederick Forsyth, has lasted in my esteem as the finest thriller written in my lifetime. How can we not be hooked by the central conceit—that we know President Charles de Gaulle wasn’t assassinated? We puzzle out the mixture of fact and fiction willingly. We accept the commonplace journalistic details as part of the plot. Finally we may even believe it all happened—because we want to believe it. That’s writerly power.”