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Walking With Ghosts: A Memoir
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Walking with Ghosts is the stunningly evocative memoir by Irish actor and Hollywood star, Gabriel Byrne.

About the Author

Gabriel Byrne was born in Dublin and has starred in over 80 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.

Reviews

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 *
Gabriel Byrne has written the most beautiful memoir. This is haunting prose and wondrous, sad, uplifting, my book of the year -- Claire Keegan
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
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 *
Reading the book was a beautiful experience; it's superb. It really is a very special book so if you love someone buy it for them for Christmas -- Eamon Dunphy
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 *
The writing is so vivid it's as if we are by Gabriel Byrne's shoulder through the sorrowful times and the joyous moments. He weaves an intimate and absorbing tapestry of the poignant and the funny -- Kirsty Wark
A working-class family memoir as well as a meditation on fame and its discontents -- Sena O'Hagan * Observer *
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] 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) *
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
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
A remembrance of the Ireland Byrne left behind, one which is no longer there * Hot Press, '2020 Books of the Year' *
Dazzles with unflinching honesty, as it celebrates the exuberance of being alive to the world despite living through pain. [Byrne's] portrait of an artist as a young boy is steeped in nostalgia of the best sort, re-creating the pull of home . . . With this tender book - full of warm and often funny stories - Byrne shows us the depth of his true character * Washington Post *
In emotional, evocative prose, Walking With Ghosts describes the town outside Dublin where [Byrne] grew up, the oldest of six children crammed into a small house, their father working as a barrel-maker for the Guinness brewery, everyone in each other's business. They were steeped in Catholicism . . . In passages that are horrifying, then funny, then both, he describes, for instance, learning the story of Adam and Eve from a fire-and-brimstone nun, in a lesson that ends with God declaring to the fallen pair: 'And by the way, your children will be miserable as well.' ('That's why the world is such an unhappy place,' the nun adds.) . . . Can you go home again? That is the tantalizing question raised by Walking With Ghosts -- Sarah Lyall * The New York Times *
This is a book about grief, loss, the secrets that we keep and the joys of creativity. It's also about dealing with addiction and the vertigo of fame. We always knew Gabriel Byrne was an astonishing actor but now we also know what an elegant, intelligent and dignified writer he is -- Mariana Enriquez, author of Dangers of Smoking in Bed
Byrne is very honest and interspersed with all of the beautifully evoked sadness [in Walking With Ghosts] are very funny moments . . . you know he has a very good sense of humour but he probably wouldn't admit it -- Jane Smiley
In pared down prose both luminous and raw, Walking with Ghosts is about first things-parents, siblings, loves, heartbreaks, parts, failure, success, loss, but most of all it is a tender embrace of the past as Byrne discovers and accepts the truth of who he is in all his human struggle to be at peace with oneself and one's imperfections. In a voice full of warmth, compassion, humor and wonder, Byrne steps into the role of writer with the same assurance, humility and intensity that he brings to his acting roles. More, this debut marks a welcome new voice that blends memory and imagination for an all-encompassing and wise memoir that reads like a novel -- Vanessa Manko, author of The Un-American

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