by Nina FitzPatrick
Justin, Charles & Company
Before it closed for good I visited Kroch & Brentano’s, the gigantic, fabled bookstore under the El on Wabash Avenue in Chicago, and plucked a little trade paperback story collection from a pile because I liked the title. Fables of the Irish Intelligentsia seemed like it would be smart and arch and sad and wry, and so it proved to be. A decade later I found the author’s name on an agent’s client list and asked to read the manuscript. Daimons, the story of a prodigal daughter returned to a magical island off the Irish coast, was also smart and arch and sad and wry, and so was the author. Nina FitzPatrick was the nom de plume of Nina Witozek, a polymath Polish scholar married to Patrick Sheeran, an Irish academic. Nina wrote Daimons after Patrick’s death, and the novel is suffused with an irresistible combination of hope and melancholy that was a pleasure to read and to work on.