John Healy: I Could Read The Sky

This month, we are very pleased to have a book chosen for us by the wonderful John Healy.

Born in Kentish Town in the 1940s, John Healy learnt to play chess while in prison and pursued a successful chess career for many years. His classic memoir, The Grass Arena, was first published in 1988 by Faber and Faber, and republished in 2008.

“I’m very happy to hear from you and recommend a novel called I Could Read the Sky by Timothy O’Grady and Steve Pyke. The prose is so powerful and haunting…”

I Could Read The Sky tells of one man’s journey from the West of Ireland to the fields and boxing-booths and building sites of England. Now, at the century’s end, he finds himself alone, looking back, struggling to make sense of a life of unforgotten loveliness and loss. Exploring themes of love, dislocation and yearning, with stark, clear prose and stunning photographs, this novel explores the experience of Irish emigration as never before.

The Grass Arena

A big thank you to John Healy for his excellent book recommendation.

By coincidence, we recently found this article in Inside Time (the national newspaper for prisoners) on Healy’s The Grass Arena, and the opportunities chess offers while in prison.


See all our previous Book of the Month choices here. 


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