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Publisher's Summary

Walking with Ghosts is the stunningly evocative memoir by Irish actor and Hollywood star Gabriel Byrne.

As a young boy growing up in the outskirts of Dublin, Gabriel Byrne sought refuge in a world of imagination among the fields and hills near his home, at the edge of a rapidly encroaching city. Born to working-class parents and the eldest of six children, he harboured a childhood desire to become a priest. When he was 11 years old, Byrne found himself crossing the Irish Sea to join a seminary in England. 

Four years later, Byrne had been expelled and he quickly returned to his native city. There he took odd jobs as a messenger boy and a factory labourer to get by. In his spare time he visited the cinema, where he could be alone and yet part of a crowd. It was here that he could begin to imagine a life beyond the grey world of ’60s Ireland.

He revelled in the theatre and poetry of Dublin’s streets, populated by characters as eccentric and remarkable as any in fiction, those who spin a yarn with acuity and wit. It was a friend who suggested Byrne join an amateur drama group, a decision that would change his life forever and launch him on an extraordinary 40-year career in film and theatre. Moving between sensual recollection of childhood in a now almost vanished Ireland and reflections on stardom in Hollywood and on Broadway, Byrne also courageously recounts his battle with addiction and the ambivalence of fame.

Walking with Ghosts is by turns hilarious and heartbreaking as well as a lyrical homage to the people and landscapes that ultimately shape our destinies.

©2020 Gabriel Byrne (P)2020 Recorded Books

Critic Reviews

"Make no mistake about it: this 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, author of Let the Great World Spin)

"Dreamy, lyrical and utterly unvarnished." (Colm Tóibín)

What listeners say about Walking with Ghosts

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    5 out of 5 stars

wonderful memoir.

The narration -performance by the writer gives another dimension to this wonderful, poetic and evocative memoir.

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Intense

It is almost unbearable listening to Gabriel Byrne reading his memoir Walking With Ghosts. It is so intense and moody and heartbreaking, hilarious, understated, poetic and passionate. I have to take breaks before diving back under the hypnotic spell of it. I was in love with him before but now I want to marry him and live in a windswept cottage in Connemara, listening to him talk.

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Excellent, really enjoyed this book

Loved the flow and range in this memoir, hope to see more from Gabriel in the future. He is a great storyteller.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-14-20

You must listen to this

This is the best Audible book I've ever listened to by far. It's wonderful the way Gabriel does the accents of all his characters, has a lyrical way of speaking, is a great storyteller (I now feel I have been to the street where grew up and met his neighbours). He is so refreshingly honest and I love him warts and all.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Ber
  • 12-02-20

Utterly brilliant

I remember Gabriel visiting our town many years ago ( the home town of his mother). He was so handsome, there was a sense of deep complexity and that intrigued me as I watched him move around shyly, obviously uncomfortable with the attention and glowing admiration of the people, all eyes firmly fixed on him. This beautiful book answers my intrigue to a large degree. There’s so much honesty, vulnerability, wit, compassion, love and awareness in this book. And he can write so wonderfully. I love this book a lot.

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  • LAMcK
  • 10-08-21

Transfixing

I couldn't stop listening to Gabriel. I love his descriptive writing, it draws you into his vivid world and paints the most fantastic images in the minds-eye.
I struggle with some narrators but Gabriel is so easy to listen to, maybe it's because I'm Irish too and it's like sitting on the sofa listening to someone nattering at the table telling their tales of the day!
So if you are in any sort of doubt about listening to this book, give it a go, it will not disappoint!

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  • Tricia
  • 03-11-21

I didn't want it to end

Gabriel Byne's accent surprised me - I hadn't realized he was Irish, but I was quickly drawn into the world of his life, periods brilliantly and seemingly effortlessly linked. It made me laugh out loud and at times brought tears to my eyes. His pain still seemed raw; sometimes hard to listen to, but needed to be heard. He is both vunerable and brave.
I thoroughly recommend this book.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-21-21

Great listen

Excellent, well written. Words and phrases used from his child I have not heard for a long time. Characters brought to life with evocative descriptions and reading voice.

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  • mr
  • 05-23-21

Beautifully Poetic

loved the book and its openess and honesty. Well written and read. recommend this

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  • paul
  • 04-13-21

A wonderful Irish icon

A brilliant listen , I felt it from start to finish. Gabriel is super in all the people he would speak of. His storytelling is a thing of beauty, some sad stories also . Well done

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-07-21

Captivating insights

Beautifully written memories that draw you into a journey through life, engaging all emotions along the way and leaving you debating your own journey. Definitely not just another Hollywood memoir.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 03-04-21

Evocative

A warm, evocative and touching memoir of the places and people who formed one we are so proud to call our own. A richness and clarity that remains in the heart long after the last page has been turned. Thank you.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-25-20

Gabriel Byrne. wonderful

amazing! fantastic book . I had to stay up till the early hours so riveting

1 person found this helpful

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  • AWard
  • 03-14-21

Thank you

Oh the beauty in such an honest account of a life. Beautiful, moving, & hilarious...

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-22-21

Honest, funny and moving

Gabriel's memoir resonated with me as a fellow survivor of a strict Catholic childhood. That's not to say that the story was gloomy or maudlin though. I basked in his lyrical prose and musical accent and there were many laugh out loud moments.

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  • Jane
  • 06-24-21

Unforgettable

An instant classic! Far beyond what you would expect from a celebrity memoir. Excellent narration.