FeaturedUrban Fantasy

The Storyteller of Inis Mór


Loved it! 😍

What do you do when you've lost everything? Return to your roots. Can this mysterious Irish island help Connor find himself again?

My goal for the year was to read more Irish literature, so when I saw this book, I jumped at the opportunity to review it. Connor, although that name has long been abandoned in favour of John, has lost it all. His wife and son are on their way to France without him, his business is failing, his car and house are being repossessed and the big shot life of an Australian mogul is no more. John has to face the facts, he's desolate. When he gets a letter from his grandmother begging his return to Ireland, and to her tiny Aran island of Inis Mor, he's sceptical. But needing a break from endless financial phone calls and drawn by the voices in his head and a mystery of his grandmother's final message that she has something to tell him, he goes. When he arrives too late, he finds himself being the sole proprietor of her Will, the owner of a small centuries-old cottage, five acres of land and a run down boat his grandfather built. Hoping to sell and get back to Australia as soon as possible, he finds himself stuck, bonded by legalities of the Will meaning he can't sell for two years but maybe this wasn't the set back he thought. Finding the inhabitants friendly, he begins to learn more about his father who had died when he was a kid, he meets a mysterious old man with stories to tell and no name to speak of, and maybe, just maybe this will be the making of Connor O'Rourke.

If you ever read the books by Helen Dunmore, Ingo, growing up, I think you'd love this book as an adult equivalent. Seeped in Irish history and lore, this book draws on stories of lost captains, sailors who never returned, myths on selkies and tales of old Irish warriors. This book had a fantastical romanticism about it. Being from Northern Ireland, I often miss the rose-tinted view of the Irish islands as we don't really have any to speak of, but this book made me want to go to the Aran Islands immediately. O'Neill has a fluid style of writing, the poems are haunting, the stories heartwrenching. It really was book that could just be devoured in one sitting. I found that I could almost imagine the stone walls, ancient sites and the breezy cliffs of Inis Mor as I read this book and I was captivated. This book also reads as if it was written by someone who had lived in Ireland all their days which impressed me when finding out O'Neill was raised in England by Irish parents before later emigrating to Australia, similar to Connor.

I would recommend this book to those looking for a breathtaking and almost magical book to read. This really inspired me to look further into Irish lore and legends.

Reviewed by

As a recent postgraduate, and a long term reader, I've recently started to take reviewing books more seriously, stretching it beyond a simple hobby I did occasionally on Goodreads. This year I have read over 80 books and plan to exceed 100 in the coming months. I review on all platforms.

About the author

Liam O’Neill was born into a wildly dysfunctional Irish family. At the age of 17, running from trouble in the UK, he fled to Australia. He began writing in 2005. Review "Liam O'Neill's book puts one in mind of the great Irish writers such as Sean O’Faolain and Benedict Kiely.” The Irish Echo view profile

Published on January 01, 2021

Published by

80000 words

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Reviewed by