in conversation with Colm Tóibín
“Walking with Ghosts“
$38 includes a copy of the book to US addresses*
*Books ship week of January 18
Gabriel Byrne was born in Dublin in 1950. Before becoming an actor, he joined a seminary with hopes of becoming a Catholic priest. Byrne is best known for his work in The Usual Suspects, Miller’s Crossing, and Into the West. He’s also done extensive work as a television actor and as a director and producer. He is based in New York.
Colm Tóibín is the author of nine novels, including ‘The Master’ and ‘Brooklyn’, and two collections of stories. His play ‘The Testament of Mary’ was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Play. His work has been translated into more than thirty languages. He is Irene and Sidney B. Silverman Professor of the Humanities at Columbia University and a contributing editor at the London Review of Books.
“Make no mistake about it: Walking with Ghosts 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
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 harbored 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 laborer 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 reveled 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 Broadway, Byrne also courageously recounts his battle with addiction and the ambivalence of fame.
Walking with Ghosts is by turns hilarious and heartbreaking as well as a lyrical homage to the people and landscapes that ultimately shape our destinies.