Being an Irish man, and as an avid reader of an eclectic mix of fiction, I thought I would make recommendations for novels written by Irish writers that might go under the radar 'across the pond'. Anything I recommend are works that have grabbed me, but I will keep in mind this is a forum for devoted readers of Mr. king, so I'll try to include texts that would lend themselves to that readership.
City of Bohane by Kevin Barry.
This is a recently released work and is the first novel by Barry. It won the 2013 Impac Dublin Literary award.
It is set 40 years in the future, in the fictional city of Bohane on the west of Ireland. Despite being set in 2053, this is more like a medieval city. This is a tough, dangerous place, controlled by organised crime gangs, split depending on their location in the city. Violence is a core passtime, and this is carried out with knives and clubs. Guns and technology are distinctly lacking in this text. Logan Hartnett, along with his group, the Hartnett Fancy, are the main players. But Logan is threatend by the arrival of Gant Broderick, a former don in the city. The Cusack gang also start a fued with the Hartnett Fancy for control of the city. Tensions rumble...
Barry is a fantastic storyteller. The book is filled with vivid characters, each indivdually created in fantastic detail, with their own lives, desires, problems...He sets up the feud brilliantly, with factions playing off each other. Religion and politics are explored with great acuity. The humour, despite the violent tendacies, is peppered throughout.
One of the key things I love about this text is the language. This book is like the Irish Clockwork Orange. The patois of west Ireland suffuses the narrative. While this may understandably make it difficult reading for some and put of many, it is what makes this novel truly grrat in my eyes. It's one of those narratives best read aloud to enjoy the full effect. It makes for a challenging read, but definitely worth it.