Books – Ulster – Critical Acclaim

The Last House of Ulster
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"In so acutely portraying one North Belfast household, overheated and awash in endless rounds of tea, Foran introduces and steers us through Northern Ireland at large in all its defining Troubles. Foran is a companiable narrator, witty, urbane, and happily attuned to irony and poetry. If a writer is as thoughtful and expressive as Foran is, and if the book is as compelling as The Last House of Ulster is, we should be so lucky to follow wherever he may wander."

— Quill and Quire

"The ‘wee drop of tea’ is the only predictable element in The Last House of Ulster. Part memoir, part travelogue, the book is a warm portrait of a Roman Catholic family in Northern Ireland that avoids the stereotypes normally associated with that patch of the world. What emerges from Foran’s portrait is essentially the triumph of the domestic realm. Perceptive and eloquent, Foran strikes the right balance between dispassionate observation and emotional engagement. The Last House of Ulster is a memorable work about a memorable place."

— Maclean’s

"The Last House of Ulster is a lucid eloquently written memoir of an appealing and extraordinary family set against the political and historical tragedy of modern Ulster. His book, however, celebrates the triumph of normalcy, of the small victories of parents who persevered, who raised five children in the bullet-ridden city of their birth without flinching and without losing their powerful ties to a now outmoded Irish past."

— The London Free Press

"The Last House of Ulster dodges clichés. Foran generates light rather than heat when he writes about Ireland…a moving, elegantly-written story told with perception and humour."

— The Globe and Mail

"…a memoir, that is, despite the grimness of Belfast and its tribal wars, oddly cheerful and buoyant."

— The Toronto Star

"The Last House of Ulster is a heartfelt, compassionate book. This is a fine, highly readable book that shows there are virtues in two things that are usually bad-mouthed—tunnel vision and “creative nonfiction”. Charles Foran, widely read journalist and recently published novelist, combines these two things into a piece of art. The pages of The Last House of Ulster are redolent with the smells of the Antrim Rd., Cave Hill, the coal and turf fires of a damp Ulster evening."

— Montreal Gazette

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