Walking with Ghosts

A Memoir

by Gabriel Byrne

On Sale: 01/12/2021

Walking with Ghosts

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Walking with Ghosts

A Memoir

by Gabriel Byrne

On Sale: 01/12/2021

Format:

O, The Oprah Magazine 55 of the Most Anticipated Books of 2021

About the Book

“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.

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Critical Praise

“[Byrne] writes with much more depth than the typical celebrity memoirist, accessing some of Heaney’s earthiness and Joyce’s grasp of how Catholic guilt can shape an artist. . . Possesses a winning dry humor that reads as authentically humble. . .Byrne is an impressive chronicler. A melancholy but gemlike memoir, elegantly written and rich in hard experience.” - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“He succeeds in spades here, offering a gripping memoir that is anything but typical Hollywood, a text imbued with rich, literary language and beautiful turns of phrase. . . . Like his work on Broadway and in Hollywood, his writing invokes a beautiful sense of nostalgia, melancholy and vulnerability.” - Winnipeg Free Press

“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

“Actor Byrne channels his fellow countrymen and Ireland’s literary masters — Beckett, Heaney, Joyce, Yeats — to create an exceptionally lyrical and expressive memoir about his childhood and early career… Bracingly revealing about his struggle with alcoholism, achingly passionate about the Ireland of his youth, and piercingly frank about his acting life, Byrne is a vivid, evocative, and sumptuously compelling memoirist.” - Booklist

Walking With Ghosts is lavish with lyricism, but presents a pretty unvarnished version of its author… The book is also a conscious departure: stylistically ambitious, purposefully (and successfully) so.” - The Guardian

“A dreamy book, lyrical, filled with images of things that slipped by and have faded. He writes passionately about his first love and hilariously about his early fame as an actor.” - Irish Times

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, author of Writers & Lovers

“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, author of The Little Red Chairs

“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 Invention of Exile

Walking with Ghosts 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 Things We Lost in the Fire

“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, author of Independence Day

“A wry and warm, swirling poetic reverie of a memoir.” - Colin Barrett, author of Young Skins

“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, author of The Illusion of Separateness

“Mercurial, ferociously honest and moving. Byrne pierces the cloak of celebrity and his shining prose leads us to an altogether more human place. A poignant symphony of memories and dreams, longing and loss, in a search for the immigrants most elusive prize, home.” - Karl Geary

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Product Details

  • ISBN: 9781443465076
  • ISBN 10: 1443465070
  • Imprint: HarperCollins Publishers
  • On Sale: 01/12/2021
  • Pages: 208
  • List Price:29.99 CAD
  • BISAC1 : BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Personal Memoirs
  • BISAC2 : BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / General
  • BISAC3 : BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Rich & Famous

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