John McGahern

John McGahern was an Irish writer celebrated for his novels and short stories that depict Irish rural life and its complexities. Born on November 12, 1934, in County Leitrim, he is best known for works such as 'Amongst Women', which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, and 'The Barracks'. His writing is noted for its detailed character development and exploration of themes such as family, love, and loss. McGahern passed away on March 30, 2006.


This list of books are ONLY the books that have been ranked on the lists that are aggregated on this site. This is not a comprehensive list of all books by this author.

  1. 1. Amongst Women

    "Amongst Women" is a novel that tells the story of Michael Moran, a bitter, aging Irish Republican Army (IRA) veteran, and his relationships with his wife and five children. The narrative explores themes of family, power, love, and the struggle between freedom and control. Moran's domineering personality and the effects of his past experiences in the IRA have a profound impact on his family, shaping their lives and relationships in complex and often destructive ways.

  2. 2. The Lake

    The novel is a profound exploration of memory, love, and the passage of time, set in the Irish countryside. It centers on a middle-aged man who returns to his childhood home by the lake after many years away. As he reconnects with the landscape of his youth and the people who still live there, he reflects on his past experiences, including the death of his mother and his complex relationship with his father. The narrative weaves together the man's present interactions with the community and his introspective journey through his memories, painting a picture of a life shaped by the rhythms of nature and the enduring human quest for meaning and connection.

  3. 3. The Barracks

    "The Barracks" is a poignant and introspective novel that delves into the lives of a family living in a rural Irish barracks. Set in the 1950s, the story follows Elizabeth Reegan, a widow struggling to find her place in a changing society, and her three children as they navigate the complexities of love, loss, and the search for personal identity. McGahern's lyrical prose beautifully captures the emotional nuances of the characters, painting a vivid portrait of a family grappling with their own desires and societal expectations.

  4. 4. That They May Face the Rising Sun

    This book tells the story of a couple who have moved from London to rural Ireland to live a quiet and peaceful life. Their days are filled with simple pleasures and the beauty of the natural world. However, their tranquility is occasionally disrupted by the complex relationships and struggles of their neighbors. The novel offers a deeply moving exploration of love, loss, and the relentless passage of time.