I could read the sky



‘Think about a tune ? the unsayable, the invisible, the longing in music. Here is a book of tunes without musical notes ? It wrings the heart’ John Berger

‘The voice that O’Grady has crafted succeeds so well…running in parallel, Pyke’s stark arresting images are laced between the paragraphs and chapters. The interplay between the two mediums is delicately powerful’ Hilary White

‘A masterpiece’ Robert Macfarlane

‘O’Grady does not just respond to Pyke’s stark, beautiful photographs: he gives voice to thousands’ Louise Kennedy

‘The experience of Irish emigration uniquely and powerfully illuminated’ Mark Knopfler

‘If the words tell the story of the voiceless, the bleak lovely photographs show their faces. Fiction rarely gets as close to the messy, glorious truth as do memories and photographs. This rare novel dares to use both’ Charlotte Mendelson, TLS

An old man lies alone and sleepless in London. Before dawn he is taken by an image from his childhood in the West of Ireland, and begins to remember a migrant’s life. Haunted by the faces and the land he left behind, he calls forth the bars and boxing booths of England, the potato fields and building sites, the music he played and the woman he loved.

Timothy O’Grady’s tender, vivid prose and Steve Pyke’s starkly beautiful photographs combine to make a unique work of fiction, an act of remembering suffused with loss, defiance and an unforgettable loveliness. An Irish life with echoes of the lives of unregarded migrant workers everywhere. Since it was first published in 1997, I Could Read the Sky has achieved the status of a classic.

ISBN: 9781800182714

In stock

This collaboration in the shape of a lyrical novel between writer O’Grady and photographer Pyke is a meditation on memory, and a distillation of the experience of Irish emigration.

Additional information

Weight0.434 kg
Dimensions19.8 × 19.6 × 2.6 cm












823.92 (edition:23)


General – Trade / Code: K

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