- By NANCY BISHOP
Legions have long enjoyed performances by celebrated Irish actor Gabriel Byrne. His work in film, television, and theater has received countless accolades and prestigious awards. In 1995, with the publication of his first book, the highly touted Pictures In My Head, we discovered Gabriel Byrne the acclaimed author. Now, some 25 years later, his second book, Walking with Ghosts, A Memoir (Grove Press) raises the ante. Byrne’s unflinching honesty and startling vulnerability are his bedrock. He lays bare his unvarnished thoughts and actions, from the prepubescent innocence of boyhood to the challenging realities of manhood. His visceral revelations veer from hilarious (I laughed out loud at his childhood musings about the mysteries of sex, and why he thought he might one day need a brassiere) to heartbreaking (I shed tears for poor Owl, and roiling anger toward a predatory member of the clergy). Byrne is clearly a fierce yet gentle soul, a mesmerizing teller of tales steeped in a rich remembrance of an oft times troubled past. His sharing of his truth so openly is an invitation to examine our own fragile lives. There is much to appreciate here, a rare tenderness that embraces the storyteller’s shortcomings as well as his accomplishments. Byrne inhabits his humanity with poignant grace and loving care, and we are the better for it. Walking with Ghosts, A Memoir is a gift. Open and enjoy!
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