Born in Dublin, Ireland in 1958, Niall Williams is a playwright and the author of three fictional novels and four books written with his wife, the artist Christine Breen, about their life in County Clare with their two children. His two published plays are A Little Like Paradise and The Way You Look Tonight.
Niall Williams' Books:
O Come Ye Back: Our First Year in County Clare (Soho Press, 1989)
This small charming book sold out four times when first published. The authors abandon their careers in New York and immigrate to Ireland to live out their life dreams.
When Summer's in the Meadow (Soho Press, 1990)
This story takes up where O Come Ye Back to Ireland leaves off. After learning they can't have children, Niall and Christine adopt their only child, Deidre and continue their story in the pastoral farming community in the wild and beautiful Irish countryside.
The Pipes Are Calling (Soho Press, 1991)
With two-year old Deidre in her baby seat, Niall Williams and Christine Breen take to the backroads and boreens of Ireland in their third book.
The Luck of the Irish (Soho Press, 1996)
The story of a family's decision to return to their homeland describes how two artists leave their New York City careers for a life in Kilmihil, adopt two children, and witness the elements of change in western Ireland.
Four Letters of Love (Farrar Straus and Giroux, 1997)
An Irish civil servant abandons his wife and 12-year-old son for two summers in this novel to pursue his dream of becoming a painter. The stage is set for dramatic changes in the household. Despondent from the lack of income, the mother commits suicide, leaving Nicholas and his father to eke out a meager living.
Years later, after a series of mishaps, Nicholas's father burns his paintings, their house, and himself. Nicholas, now himself a civil servant, is a man with a mission. He casts aside his current life to try to regain the only surviving painting of his father's. His quest takes him to Galway where he finds much more than he ever anticipated.
As It Is In Heaven (Warner Books, 1999)
It was a season of love in the afternoon; of slow time and long caresses, of strawberries... passing from mouth to mouth like the wet, ripe and softly bruised essence of pleasure itself...
In this novel, time has already stopped for Stephen Griffin when he moves into the little house by the sea. 28 years old and haunted by death, the tall, awkward, shy schoolteacher is content to care for his father in Dublin and let life pass him by.
Then a miracle occurs: a string ensemble from Venice and, with it, a violinist named Gabriella Castoldi. Even though the worldly, beautiful musician seems incapable of giving her heart, love seizes Stephen Griffin... unbidden and shaking every particle of his spirit.
Stephen's ailing father sees it and fears for his naive son. Nelly Grant, the greengrocer, predicted it and welcomes its sheer joy. Moses Mooney, the blind musician, has sensed its coming. None, however, can envision the depth and consequence of this union. For Gabriella will change not only Stephen's life but, in the deepest sense, the lives of everyone around them.
The Fall of Light (Picador, 2001)
This novel begins in Ireland, in the difficult years of the 19th Century. The Foley family have lost their home and lost beautiful Emer - wife of Francis and mother to the four young boys. Without her they set off west, searching for lands and lives that are free. But there will be more separations, more love and sorrow, before their journey ends.