Gabriel Byrne Walking With Ghosts: A Memoir


Code 9781529027433
Walking with Ghosts is the stunningly evocative memoir by Irish actor and Hollywood star, Gabriel Byrne.
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About this Book

Author: Gabriel Byrne

Date Published: 12-Nov-2020

As a young boy growing up in the outskirts of Dublin, Gabriel Byrne sought refuge in a world of imagination among the fields and hills near his home, at the edge of a rapidly encroaching city. Born to working-class parents and the eldest of six children, he harboured a childhood desire to become a priest. When he was eleven years old, Byrne found himself crossing the Irish Sea to join a seminary in England. Four years later, Byrne had been expelled and he quickly returned to his native city. There he took odd jobs as a messenger boy and a factory labourer to get by. In his spare time he visited the cinema, where he could be alone and yet part of a crowd. It was here that he could begin to imagine a life beyond the grey world of ’60s Ireland. He revelled in the theatre and poetry of Dublin’s streets, populated by characters as eccentric and remarkable as any in fiction, those who spin a yarn with acuity and wit. It was a friend who suggested Byrne join an amateur drama group, a decision that would change his life forever and launch him on an extraordinary forty-year career in film and theatre. Moving between sensual recollection of childhood in a now almost vanished Ireland and reflections on stardom in Hollywood and on Broadway, Byrne also courageously recounts his battle with addiction and the ambivalence of fame. Walking with Ghosts is by turns hilarious and heart-breaking as well as a lyrical homage to the people and landscapes that ultimately shape our destinies.

About the Author
Gabriel Byrne was born in Dublin and has starred in over eighty films for some of the cinema's leading directors. He won a Golden Globe for his performance on HBO's In Treatment. On Broadway he won the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Actor and has been nominated twice for the Tony Award. He lives in Manhattan and Maine. Walking With Ghosts is his memoir.
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The wonder of this memoir is its unembellished truth. It is written by a man whose amazing story is the stuff of literature -- Edna O'Brien
Dreamy, lyrical and utterly unvarnished. [Byrne] writes passionately about first love and hilariously about life as an actor -- Colm Toibin * Irish Times *
Make no mistake about it: this is a masterpiece. A book that will wring out our tired hearts. It is by turns poetic, moving and very funny. You will find it on the shelf alongside other great Irish memoirs including those by Frank McCourt, Nuala O'Faolain and Edna O'Brien -- Colum McCann, author of Let the Great World Spin
The allure of Gabriel Byrne's memoir is that it persuasively humanizes what it is to be a big deal movie star. Byrne is wonderfully without cant or bluster or phony humility. Instead he leads with felicity, candor, humor and empathy. In the end, he seems to be somebody you'd be glad to know -- Richard Ford
A wry and warm, swirling poetic reverie of a memoir -- Colin Barrett
A joy of a book - full of heart and humour, beautifully told -- Sinead Gleeson
Mercurial, ferociously honest and moving . . . A poignant symphony of memories and dreams, longing and loss, in a search for the immigrants most elusive prize, home -- Karl Geary, author of Montpelier
Walking with Ghosts is exquisite. This book feels like the culmination of a long literary career and not the debut of a famous actor. Byrne makes himself fully vulnerable while in total command of language and form. There is great truth and great beauty in this close examination of a life and the passage of time. I've never read a memoir so raw and honest and literary and absolutely, staggeringly brilliant -- Lily King
Byrne arrives at a truth greater than an honest and sensitive memoir; he verges on a profoundly touching articulation of our short time on earth, time that will make of each of us nothing more or less than a ghost * Independent *
Structured around an imaginary, haunted visit to the Dublin of his youth, the book does offer sketches from the movie wonderland - John Boorman being bossy on Excalibur, testy encounters with Laurence Olivier in the 1980s - but it is more to do with conjuring up a now-vanished Ireland. The smell of the Guinness brewery. Early acting experiences in a nativity play. The church, everywhere the church * Irish Times *
[Byrne] writes with much more depth than the typical celebrity memoirist, accessing some of Seamus Heaney's earthiness and James Joyce's grasp of how Catholic guilt can shape an artist . . . A melancholy but gemlike memoir, elegantly written and rich in hard experience * Kirkus (starred review) *
A poetic journey into those secret realms of memory which dominate our lives, but are rarely spoken about. By revealing himself with such courage, compassion, and exquisite poise, Gabriel Byrne gives readers that rare gift of being able to see themselves in the feelings of another person. This book is more than a memoir-it's a mirror that reflects the deepest parts of us in exile -- Simon Van Booy

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