Walking with Ghosts

21,000+ Reviews
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Product Details
$17.00  $15.81
Grove Press
Publish Date
5.5 X 8.2 X 0.9 inches | 0.45 pounds

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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.

Praise for Walking with Ghosts

"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

"The In Treatment star is a graceful stylist . . . finding elegant connections between childhood longings and adult mistakes." --Minneapolis Star Tribune

"A moody and melodic memoir--much like the great actor himself." --Oprah Daily, "Most Anticipated Books of 2021"

"[Byrne] writes passionately about first love and hilariously about life as an actor." --Colm Tóibín, Irish Times

"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 (UK)

"Remarkably intimate . . . A lyrical and unflinching interrogation of the self . . . The excavations of Byrne's early traumas . . . are stark and heartbreaking . . . That he's been able to alchemize these traumas into something so beautiful feels like deliverance, and reads like a gift." --Dan Sheehan, Air Mail

"Melancholic and poetic . . . What's clear from the outset is that Byrne possesses that rare ability not just to identify meaningful moments but to recount them in an engaging way." --RTE

"Pulses with nostalgia and an honesty palpable from the opening pages . . . 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." --The Independent (UK)

"Take any idea of what you might have about a celebrity memoir and put it aside; it's beautifully written, very literary, and Byrne's celebrity is almost incidental to his life. Rather than the usual celebrity fare, this one speaks to the heart of the person . . . This is not a long memoir but his writing is so rich it conveys depths." --Toronto Star

"I have read many biographies and autobiographies in my life- time, but nothing compares to actor Gabriel Byrne's memoir . . . Much is written in images and vivid memories rather than direct narration, which makes for a very poetic experience . . . a memoir to be experienced and cherished." --Bookreporter

"Intimate . . . Byrne writes with candor and an exceptional humility, and has an easy hand with clever turns of phrase. Simultaneously frank and emotionally stirring, this memoir entrances." --Publishers Weekly

"[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)

"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

"It is at times a heartbreakingly tender excursion between the living and the dead. The actor is an artist of the written as well as the spoken word." --Sunday Independent

"Thoughtful, moving, and without a trace of self-indulgence, this honest and beautifully written book reads more like a novel than a memoir, drawing the reader into a narrative that is full of courage, humor, and above all, humanity. I really loved Walking with Ghosts and can't recommend it highly enough." --Christine Dwyer Hickey

"Imagine Séamus Heaney's eye falling on Hollywood's glare . . . it really did remind me of Séamus Heaney, it seemed to have that very sharp focus and also that wonderfully lyrical way of expressing it." --Richard Coles, BBC Radio 4

"A beautifully judged blend of sparkling anecdotes spliced with the darkest of memories." --Gloss Magazine

"The diary of a poet who also happens to be a famous movie star." --Monique Roffey

"So beautiful, it seems extraordinary that [Byrne] has kept this light under a bushel all this time . . . Gorgeous." --Graham Norton, BBC Radio 2

"Gabriel Byrne's Walking with Ghosts, is destined to be a classic . . . What makes Gabriel Byrne a great writer is that he knows that whether we are wicked or good, few of us get what we deserve." --Irish 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

"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." --Newsnight

"A working-class family memoir as well as a meditation on fame and its discontents." --Observer

"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

"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." --Mariana Enriquez

"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

"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

"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

"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

"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

"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

"I felt I was there, listening to him and his parents, his dates, his experiences. This isn't a book about being a film star, it's a book about being a human, an empath, a reader, a son, a traveller, and someone who always has their eyes--and heart--open to the possibilities of the world . . . A joy of a book--full of heart and humour, beautifully told." --Sinéad Gleeson

"A wry and warm, swirling poetic reverie of a memoir." --Colin Barrett

"Gabriel Byrne has written the most beautiful memoir." --Claire Keegan

"Gabriel Byrne writes as if he has literary power to burn: All the dancing force of his poetry belies a story that is also so necessary, so restrained . . . I was hooked--and deeply jealous--by page one. It takes real talent, self-assurance and guts to write this well and with this much honesty; Byrne looks as if he's been doing it his whole life." --Alexandra Fuller

"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

"I've long known that Gabriel Byrne is a powerful actor and I, now, know he's an equally powerful writer. The honesty and beauty in Walking with Ghosts are breath-taking and quietly brilliant. His gift for capturing landscape bears the mark of someone who not only sees but intuitively senses the world. And, perhaps most importantly, he has the courage to be simple--there are no tricks in Walking with Ghosts. It's a book filled with the truths of one man's life and a wonderful acknowledgement of the lives of the ghosts who walk so warmly with him. I can't recommend it highly enough. Read it and then reread it." --John MacKenna