This essential guide offers innovative critical readings of key contemporary novels from Ireland and Northern Ireland. Linden Peach discusses texts that are representative of the richness of Irish writing during the 1980s and 1990s, and reads works by established authors alongside those by the new generation of writers. The novels examined include works by John Banville, Jennifer Johnston, Roddy Doyle, Emma Donoghue, Seamus Deane, William Trevor, Dermot Bolger, Joseph O'Connor, Patrick McCabe, Mary Morrissy, Glenn Patterson and Robert McLiam Wilson. The Contemporary Irish Novel addresses themes such as ghosts and haunting, mimicry, obedience and subversion, the relocation and reinscription of identity, the mother figure, parent-child relations, madness, masculinity, self-harm, sexuality, domestic violence, fetishism and postmodernity. Drawing on a range of critical approaches including postcolonial, gender and psychoanalytic theory, Peach explores and celebrates the diversity of Irish fiction and suggests that the boundary between literature and theory is as permeable as that between Ireland and Northern Ireland.