2) Memories of the Irish Israeli War, by Phil O'Brien. This came to me for similar if slightly stranger reasons, explained in an earlier post. In fact I'll have to take it off the list as it has no sf or fantasy elements at all, and is set not in Ireland but in a London kebab restaurant populated by various middle eastern blokes. The narrator is a woman from Belfast and tells the story in a beautifully captured idiomatic stream of consciousness; presumably the other characters' accents are reasonably authentic too, though since I've spent the grand total of one long weekend in the Middle East I can't be sure. The verve and energy of the language is very absorbing; but I was never quite sure what was actually happening.
Right, the baby has finally gone to sleep in my arms so I will do likewise.