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Space to Think, a new book celebrating ten years of the Dublin Review of Books More Information 

    Places Like Home

    Catherine Phil McCarthy
    Poet Gerard Smyth and painter Seán McSweeney have produced a remarkable collaboration of words and images built around the farms, fields and landscapes of Co Meath, where each of them spent some time in childhood
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    Mother of Invention

    Mary Morrissy
    Éilís Ní Dhuibne is a deceptive writer, deceptively light in tone, deceptively erudite in her references, deceptively irreverent in her treatment of form. Her literariness betrays itself when she pulls the narrative rug from under the reader and in her likeness for embroideries and yarns.
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    Making Waves

    Patricia Craig
    A novel set on Rathlin Island at the end of the nineteenth century takes as its subject the arrival of Marconi’s men to conduct an experiment transmitting sound across the sea. It derives its considerable force from the conjunction of archaism and modernity, the clash of material and immaterial forces.
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    Hauntings

    Peter Sirr
    Mark Granier’s poems are full of skies and hauntings, the missing, the dead, time’s erasures, ‘the slow shift of light’, the closely observing eye lighting on the city and where the city meets light and water and sky. He is, as one poem has it, an eternal ‘cloud watcher, seawatcher’.
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    Reasonable Doubt

    Frank Callanan
    Reasonable Doubt
    A study of Joyce’s literary use of the law by the late Adrian Hardiman stresses the writer’s ‘persistent assertion of the need for philosophical and judicial doubt as a proper, moral and humane reaction to the inadequacy of evidence’.
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    Those Who Remain

    Julia O’Mahony
    The new collection from Katie Donovan presents an unflinching look at the realities of living with and caring for a husband with a terminal illness while also acknowledging the chance fragments of joy she experiences as she continues to raise her young family.
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    A Soul in Wonder

    Sean O’Hogain
    As a poet, Michael Longley has so many sides to him that he is, for all practical purposes, round. His lyrical gift is wedded to a lightly worn but well-used education, an eye for detail and an ear for music.
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    The Virags and the Blooms

    Martin Greene
    Ulysses may have no story, but it does contain a multitude of little ones. Though artfully assembled, these can also be difficult to follow because the information provided is often incomplete, widely dispersed, presented out of sequence or hidden in obscure passages of text.
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    His Poor Materials

    Liam Harrison
    Samuel Beckett’s fidelity to ‘trash’ objects – boots, bikes, bowler hats, crutches - his persistent use of them in different mediums, indicates that such objects held a unique position in his creative process, forming an ‘art of salvage’ which can be traced across his life’s work.
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    Sweet and Sour

    Anthony Roche
    Sweet and Sour
    The trajectory of Molly Keane’s life was different from most other people’s and most other writers’: the tragedy – the early death of her husband ‑came early and the triumph late. But what a triumph – three sparkling and successful late novels written in her late seventies and eighties.
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    Defining Utopia

    Philip MacCann
    Utopian imaginings were alive and well in eighteenth century Ireland and could be found not just in pamphlets but in vision poems and travellers’ tales, speeches, manifestos and proclamations and the practical improving projects of philanthropic societies like the Dublin Society (later the RDS).
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    The Return

    Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin
    After a life lived mainly ‘elsewhere than in Ireland’, Harry Clifton returned to live in Portobello, near his boyhood home. The return brings with it some foreboding: will the past and its ghosts rush forward to embrace him? Mind you, he’s not the only one who is out of place.
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    Innocent Abroad

    Siobhán Parkinson
    Alan McMonagle’s debut novel has been compared to McCabe’s ‘The Butcher Boy’ and Ryan’s ‘The Spinning Heart’. He has nothing to fear from the comparisons. This is an assured and poised, hilarious and poignant work, both clever and touching, a tour de force.
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    The Power of Nine

    Catherine Phil MacCarthy
    Paula Meehan’s discovery of countercultural influences has long been a strategy of her poetic process, and the idea of divination is the holding pattern for this collection. The first poems are love songs to the moon and sea, the last to a sense of home, on an Aegean island, Ikaria.
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    Ars Poetica

    Jane Clarke
    Louise C Callaghan’s welcome new collection is shaped as a quartet, with the parts sharing core themes. The first treats of a Dublin childhood; the second features tributes to other admired poets; the third evokes the Aran Islands and the fourth the painter – and man – Francisco Goya.
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    Lost on Leeside

    Carol Taaffe
    Lost on Leeside
    The hero of Lisa McInerney’s ‘The Glorious Heresies’ is back in her second novel, ‘The Blood Miracles’. Ryan Cusack, now pushing twenty-one, has just come out of hospital confused and depressed. He has been offered a rebirth of sorts but new beginnings are not easy.
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    The Call of the Fields

    Gerard Smyth
    Francis Ledwidge was a poet who went to war, but he did not become a war poet in the normal sense. Mostly he adhered to his natural terrain - rapture before nature - and the fixities of home in what he wrote in surroundings of horrendous conflict, remaining content to imaginatively ‘walk the old frequented ways’ of his memories of his native Co Meath.
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    Shards

    Afric McGlinchey
    In a new novel by Conor O’Callaghan, which is reminiscent of Clare Louise Bennett’s experimental ‘Pond’, it’s as if the narrator – and the reader over his shoulder – is looking through a spyhole, gleaning fragments as told by the girl, and having to jigsaw the story together.
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    Raiders and Settlers

    Clíona Ní Ríordáin
    In a splendid English-language volume of tribute, multiple translators from the Irish verse ensure that no one voice substitutes itself for the voice of the poet and that no single translator drowns out the original. The work can still be heard in its own time.
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    A Strange Tale

    Afric McGlinchey
    An experimental novel that takes place entirely inside the mind of an unnamed protagonist relates the thought processes and intensely focused observations of an elusive, dissociated woman. Gradually, the reader realises that this is not just a domestic narrative but pure prose poetry.
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    Head-on and Dead-on

    Magdalena Kay
    Seamus Heaney’s academic intelligence was formidable but he did not try to write, or think, like a typical academic. His connections to other thinkers often seem idiosyncratic and personal, not made to build a rational intellectual structure.
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    An Angry Wind

    John Wilson Foster
    An Angry Wind
    A new biographical study liberates us from the Yeatsian image of Maud Gonne most of us have lived with, springs her from long existence as a footnote to a great poet’s life and gives us the information by which we can finally take the measure of this deplorably influential woman.
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    The Great Escape

    Harry Clifton
    Whatever its lack of charm for those who grew up here, traditional Ireland has always attracted enthusiastic European and other visitors. It’s the place where time stands still, where modernity is still stubbornly resisted and where the best people to this day ride out to hounds.
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    Mapping the Revival

    Barra Ó Seaghdha
    A handsome new publication provides a survey of that period of ferment and rejuvenation that, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, ‘fashioned a new civic culture outside the scope of institutional religion, the colonial state and conventional politics’.
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    Language in Orbit

    Catherine Phil MacCarthy
    The governing thread in a new selected Muldoon is a life lived from his upbringing in the village of Moy on the Tyrone-Armagh border to Princeton. The work engages concerns both private and public, while Muldoon’s poems address an increasingly wide audience. 
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    A Life with Opinions

    Andrew Carpenter
    Should a book which contains passages clearly the product of imaginative re-creation be marketed as a biography? Jonathan Swift’s contradictions encourage many different kinds of response, but a work written in a highly imaginative style should perhaps be described as commentary.
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    A Centenary Poem

    Harry Clifton
    In 1917, the French diplomat and poet Alexis Leger, who published under the name Saint-John Perse, wrote the long poem ‘Anabasis’, a meditation on the rise and fall of civilisations, after a visit to an old temple in the Xinchan mountains.
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    Mishearing Voices

    Fritz Senn
    Artists are free to take liberties and twist facts in presenting a fictional account of the lives of actual people, but the dialogue in a novel based on James, Nora, Lucia and Giorgio Joyce does not sound very much like any conversations we might have expected them to have.
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    The Note for Grief

    Liza Costello
    Each year Dermot Healy built a stone wall on the beach near his home, only for it to be washed away by the sea. Loss, his poems seem to say, is an intrinsic aspect of our world, and inseparable from its material reality.
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    When All Our Gold Was Gorse

    Gerard Smyth

    Thomas McCarthy, as poet and thinker, is a defender of the past against the more crass aspects of modernity. He speaks from a wise understanding of the Ireland that has evolved from de Valera’s country of long summers to one where we try to read the runes from Berlin or Brussels. 

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    Into Their Own

    Caroline Hurley
    A substantial bilingual English-Irish anthology that breaks new ground with its critical survey of modern Irish poetry takes up where Seán Ó Tuama and Thomas Kinsella left off with their pioneering 1981 selection ‘An Dunaire 1600-1900: Poems of the Dispossessed’.
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    Storied Women

    Dawn Miranda Sherratt-Bado
    A companion volume to Sinéad Gleeson’s ‘The Long Gaze Back’ charts the unique tradition of short fiction by women from the North of Ireland. Gleeson traces its historical arc from the turn of the century to the present and includes fifteen new stories by contemporary authors.
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    Private Places

    Kelly E Sullivan
    A study of the idea of domestic space in Northern Irish poetry offers fresh perspectives on poems long in the public eye, finding new meaning in key works by Heaney, Longley, Mahon and McGuckian. One of its great virtues is its perfectly tuned affinity with the poets it deals with.
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    The Mad Muse

    Matthew Parkinson-Bennett
    An eccentric comic novel by a promising young Irish writer is stylistically ambitious, difficult and truly original. It’s a wonder it got published at all.
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    The View from the Hill

    Michael Halpenny
    Based on an array of Irish and British contemporary sources, including papers and photographs from private collections, a new study of the revolutionary years in Howth and neighbouring communities combines academic rigour with the pace of an adventure story.
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    The Kingdom of Water

    Enda Wyley
    A new collection from Noel Duffy sees his verse branch off from the more lyrical and autobiographical work of previous volumes to exhibit greater experimentation in form and theme, with subject matter ranging from physics and thermodynamics, to nature to individual lives.
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    Descent into Darkness

    Magdalena Kay
    Heaney’s Virgil certainly contains some of the verbal exuberance we associate with him, but some may wonder why there is not more. But Virgil’s Latin is known for its poetic decorum, which Heaney wishes to preserve rather than challenge. His aim is not to confound but to celebrate.
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    Ghost Frequencies

    Bryan Fanning
    Immediately a man dies for what he believes, Robert Lynd wrote after the death of Pearse, everything he has said or written assumes a new value and his words seem mysteriously laden with meaning, a ghostly bequest in regard to which we do not feel quite free to play the critic.
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    Striking Out

    Afric McGlinchey
    A new publication features an invaluable survey of the landscape of Irish experimental poetry, a vibrant tradition, if one that departs from the general set of expectations we tend to have of our poetic traditions.
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    The Virtual Republic

    Gerald Dawe
    John Hewitt was uncomfortable with the Northern state and frustrated by his inability to make contact with ‘his own people’. His verse is inflected with a growing consciousness of the damage done by the political exploitation of division and by a nostalgia for a different past.
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    Suffering and Sanctity

    Carol Taaffe
    Emma Donoghue’s new novel, set in nineteenth century, post-Famine Ireland and centring on the case of a ‘fasting child’ who refuses all food, is at its most compelling in the attention it devotes to a religious culture that elevates suffering, and yet which provides consolation too.
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    Sins of the Advocate

    Frank Callanan
    The Irish-American lawyer John Quinn defended Margaret Anderson and Jane Heap of the ‘Little Review’ from prosecution for publishing extracts from ‘Ulysses’. The prosecution led to the effective banning of the book in 1921. Quinn’s defence strategy left a lot to be desired.
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    Whiteout

    Rachel Andrews
    Ed O’Loughlin’s new novel is set in the wild open spaces of the Canadian Arctic and benefits from a wealth of detailed research into the history of exploration in this remote reason. Against this pleasure, however, the outlines of the contemporary characters remain vague.
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    Time, Gentlemen

    George O’Brien
    Rounds of drinks, and rounds of various Dublin pubs, are only the most obvious instances of a more general notion of circulation in a novel whose subtitle, “another day in Dublin”, pays a downbeat homage to, as well as establishing a distance from, the book of June 16th, 1904.
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    Holding Out

    Joseph O’Connor
    Mary O’Malley’s poems have seen a thing or two, but the light has not gone out. They are honest, tough, tender, beautiful, alive to the redemptive possibilities of Ireland’s languages, tuned into popular speech and ready to walk into the world and find something worth loving.
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    Cat Menagerie

    Clíona Ní Ríordáin
    Afric McGlinchey’s second collection revolves around a central conceit – the fisher cat, familiar of the fifteenth century alchemist Dom Perlet. Drowned by ‘vigilantes’ in the Seine, the animal reappeared with its master some time later when they took up their old pursuits anew.
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    Suffer Little Children

    Liza Costello
    A collection of poems by Connie Roberts, who grew up in an institution after being removed from a violent home in rural Ireland, portrays her horrific childhood world both inspiringly and artistically, while refusing to ‘tell it slant’ or to ‘gussy it up / in Sunday-best similes’.
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    The Bears and the Bees

    Thomas McCarthy
    Paula Meehan is an inspiring presence, the most important thinking poet of her generation. Still, it must be said that there are rogues and ruffians among poets too, persons of such low moral character that a blackthorn stick might as well be found in their hands as a pen.
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    Betwixt

    Terence Brown
    Louis MacNeice’s career was a matter of negotiating between conflicting realities, Belfast and Dublin, Ireland North and South, Ireland and England, Europe and America, peace and war ‑ he chose London over Ireland and a then non-combatant US lest he miss history.
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    A Bird Pipes Up

    Billy Mills
    There is always some question around the best, or perhaps the least-worst, way of translating poetry. One view is that translating verse into prose leaves out almost everything that makes the original worth reading in the first instance.
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    Father of the Artist

    Barry Sheils
    Mike McCormack’s new novel is a successful and moving work, not least because it contains a public reckoning at its centre – a plea for accountability not typical in Irish writing, which remains overly impressed by its grim array of scapegrace dandies, scouring matriarchs and domesticated Oedipuses.
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    The Long Note

    Brendan Lowe
    The opening poem in Paddy Bushe’s new collection gives a sense of an art emerging from a relationship with the natural processes occurring constantly in a particular place, processes which transcend time, while the music played is a different phenomenon from the songs ringing in the New Year down in the village.
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    Far from Home

    Carol Taaffe
    Far from Home
    Mia Gallagher’s new novel is a capacious one. It is difficult to capture all at once, and as such it is a work that would repay returning to. As the playful cabinet of curiositiesdevice that it features might suggest, it is also a novel that might appear very differently on each reading.
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    This Island Now

    George O’Brien
    One of the most distinctive aspects of O’Faoláin’s ‘The Bell’ was its reportage, a genre related to British and American traditions of documentary writing, a departure from the ‘belles lettres’ conception and a socially conscious attempt to extend literature’s democratic appeal and demographic reach.
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    Sad in the Suburbs

    Brendan Mac Evilly
    Our image of Maeve Brennan is most often of an elegant and sophisticated woman looking very at home in a New York apartment. Her Dublin stories, however, portray frustrated lives in a respectable but constricted world, the middle class suburban world in which she grew up.
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    Opening Out

    Afric McGlinchey
    In a collection of almost sublime purity, Vona Groarke moves from a youthful confidence inspired by love, to a state of ‘chassis’, and finally to a point where she looks outward from the confines of the symbolic house which has served her so often as an image.
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    Landscapes of Displaced Desire

    Tom Tracey
    A debut collection of short stories is fraught in mood, yet maintains a composed tone alongside meticulous description. At times it feels like a contemporary ‘Dubliners’ written for the People’s Republic of Cork, shot through with its author’s impressive ‘descriptive lust’.
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    Watching the Moods

    Gerard Smyth
    Coming just a few years after his ‘Collected Poems’, Macdara Woods’s new collection demonstrates the progression towards a lifelong unitary project; poem adds to poem, book to book. Because of that consistency poems from forty years ago still wear well.
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    Retooling Utopia

    Philip MacCann
    One man’s heaven can be another’s hell. Wilde trusted in the state to appropriate the family while HG Wells favoured sterilisation of the infirm, pan-surveillance and micro-management of citizens’ personal data, criss-crossing government departments through pneumatic tubes.
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    Jagged Lines and Smooth Numbers

    Harry Clifton
    Jagged Lines and Smooth Numbers
    Robert Lowell once said that all problems in art are ultimately technical problems and and it is the jaggedness of line of Derek Mahon's most famous poem, “A Disused Shed in Co. Wexford”, that sets it apart from many other accomplished pieces.
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    Speak, Memory

    Jane Clarke
    A new study focuses on three generations of women poets, born between 1942 and 1983, exploring commonalities and differences across and within the generations through their engagement with memory, in all its fluidity and instability, as muse.
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    Unwoven

    Brendan Lowe
    A sonnet sequence by the poet Micheal O’Siadhail traces his experiences over the two-year period which culminated in his wife’s death from a terrible disease which makes war on human dignity.
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    The Thing With Feathers

    Adam Wyeth
    Nuala O’Connor’s novel Miss Emily is more than a portrait of a poet executed with exquisite precision. It offers a fresh, enhancing approach to Dickinson’s inner life, showing a woman with zest and independence of mind.
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    We’re No Angels

    Philip O’Leary
    We’re No Angels
    Máirtín Ó Cadhain’s masterpiece ‘Cré na Cille’, which portrayed the meanness and bitter scurrility of the inhabitants of a Conamara graveyard, lacked an English translation for over sixty years. Now it has two, each, in their different ways, doing the classic work full justice.
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    Hard and Soft

    Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin
    The virtues of Jane Clarke’s first verse collection include a broad sympathy that never usurps the voice of the other, a pleasure in ingenious objects and crafts that is deftly transmitted and a clarity which does not deny mystery but makes room for it.
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    Witnessing

    Keith Payne
    The answer then as to why tell these women’s stories, why write this, why read this, are the poems themselves. As with all the important questions, the questions that need to be asked and often can only be formulated by a poet, the poem is the answer.
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    Voices from Elsewhere

    Tom Tracey
    Rob Doyle’s new collection demands to be read if for no other reason than to observe what the new generation of talent is beginning to produce by way of a tradition moving steadily away from McGahern’s Ireland into a foreignness no less real for being in no way green.
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    The City As Hero

    Gerard Smyth
    If there is a ‘larger than life’ character in Lia Mills’s novel ‘Fallen' it is the city of Dublin itself, whose street names are evoked with a Joycean reverence. This makes it a peculiarly appropriate choice to be chosen as this year’s One City, One Book
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    McGahern And Tradition

    Denis Sampson
    A new study of John McGahern is grounded in a capacious knowledge of his fiction, his reading, his manuscripts and notes, and other critics’ work. It will allow us to assess his enduring reputation fifty years after the career began and a decade after its end.
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    A Terrible Thing

    Pauline Hall
    Iris Murdoch’s Easter 1916 novel ‘The Red and the Green’ (1965) expresses some of her own early Marxist and feminist attitudes, as when a character asserts that ‘being a woman is like being Irish. Everyone says you’re important and nice, but you take second place all the same’.
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    War in Words

    Carlo Gébler
    And by wars what he had in mind, Gerald Dawe went on to explain, were not only those that one might expect Irish poets to write about (“the Easter Rising, the War of Independence, and the civil war in Ireland”) but those other twentieth century wars, including the Great War, the Spanish Civil War and the Second World War.
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    The Undead

    Terence Killeen
    A new study of Joyce is based on the idea that because of the retarded nature of Irish modernisation and its colonial status, communal belief in ghosts and the spirit world persisted, whereas elsewhere such beliefs were banished to the sphere of the subjective.
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    Mind Games

    Matthew Parkinson-Bennett
    Oppressed by his inability to write and seeking an intense experience, John Lennon sets out, accompanied by his wise and unflappable native guide, Cornelius O’Grady, on a journey westward to Clew Bay in Kevin Barry’s brilliant, virtuoso, boundary-breaking new novel.
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    Held By The Roots

    Brendan Lowe
    Gerard Smyth is a poet strongly associated with his native Dublin, and in particular with the period of his childhood and youth. His new collection is marked by an impulse to record, with piety and fidelity. The tone is elegiac, yet the poems are still open to the new and exotic
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    Airborne

    Lucy Collins
    ‘The Airship Era’ one of O’Reilly’s most finely achieved poems, explores the moment in which modern technology meets the legacy of symbolic traditional cultures. In the figure of the Zeppelin the future is untethered from the earth as air and earth become as sea and sea floor.
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    What Next?

    Ailbhe Darcy
    Justin Quinn is fascinated by the inevitability that rhyme suggests: as one rhyme brings on another, so we are born, produce other lives, and die. Generation follows generation in a process that has fascinated Quinn since he wrote of the birth of his children in ‘Fuselage’.
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    Earth’s Old Bones

    Brendan Lowe
    Earth’s Old Bones
    John Keats championed the truth of imagination, while the naturalist Alexander Von Humboldt was the first to see nature as a unified organism. Moya Cannon invites both to tea. It’s an edgy business. She serves them in separate rooms and spends more time with Keats.
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    Down the Rabbit Hole

    Alex Bramwell
    A new collection of two works by the Russian-Irish novelist, poet and translator Anatoly Kudryavitsky features a writer who explores contemporary political themes but whose practice is grounded in the magical realist tradition which produced Mikhail Bulgakov.
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    A Cooling Cinder

    Pauline Hall
    A fictional portrait of Dublin in the years leading up to the Great War and 1916 is brimming with ideas and has a great deal of historical interest, even if its author’s ill-digested anger at his enemies and overschematic approach to characterisation may reduce the artistry.
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    The Vault of Feeling

    Shane Barry
    Kevin Stevens’s assured new novel explores the difficulties faced by a young immigrant of Arab and Muslim background in small-town America, difficulties which include racism and the weight of overbearing tradition, but which can be countered by friendship, love and art.
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    Boomtime Rot

    Aiden O’Reilly
    Dermot Bolger knows his characters, knows the schools they went to in the 1970s, the kind of parents they had, the parents’ world of the 1940s. But he also knows their teenage children born in the 90s, the slang they use and the changed dynamic of romantic relationships.
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    A Different Kind of Nothing

    Siobhán Parkinson
    A Different Kind of Nothing
    Paul Murray’s new novel is fiendishly clever, loosely yet convincingly plotted, as brash and vulgar at times as the world it portrays. It is wild, playful, baggy, perverse, exaggerated, carnivalesque; but it is endlessly engaging, riotously funny and devastatingly serious.
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    Hiss! Boo! Take it off!

    Adrian Hardiman
    The noisy censure of a dramatic performance must, in legal principle, be the expression of the feelings of the moment. If it is premeditated ‘by a number of persons confederated beforehand’ it becomes criminal. Such was the background to the ‘Playboy’ riots of 1907.
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    No Homes To Go To

    Luke Gibbons
    No Homes To Go To
    Dorothy Macardle was a friend of de Valera, an historian of the idea of the Irish Republic and a novelist. Her story ‘The Uninvited’, memorably filmed in 1944 with Ray Milland, is a haunted house tale set in Cornwall but with Irish undertones. It is reprinted this month.
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    Faith of our Filí

    Pól Ó Muirí
    John F Deane has written an honest book and filled it with some beautiful poetry. His life and times in Achill and beyond are described in the sort of prose that reminds you, and even jaundiced Irish-speaking reviewers too, why people like the English language
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    Some Northern Poets

    Gerald Dawe
    The lives of the Catholic nationalist community in the North, but also its wider migrations and fate in the fledgling new Irish Free State and in Britain, North America and further afield is a fascinating history of adaptation and adoption as much as restlessness and disaffection.
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    Scripts and Prescriptions

    Benjamin Keatinge
    Scripts and Prescriptions
    An inspiring new collection of essays by a doctor and literary scholar affirms Beckett’s intuition that it is ‘the occasional glimpse’ of mutual recognition ‘by us in them and ... by them in us of that smile at the human condition’ which makes it worthwhile to go on.
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    A Different Furrow

    Billy Mills
    Much twentieth century Irish poetry is seen as a reaction against or a coming to terms with the influence of Yeats. Brian Coffey, however, a friend of Beckett and Joyce whose early influences were Eliot, Pound and the Symbolists, wrote as if Yeats had never existed.
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    Prose with Skirts

    Eoin O’Brien
    The painter and sculptor Brian O’Doherty’s most recent novel, based on the life of an actually existing eighteenth century French diplomat, stands with the very greatest historical fiction. It is also a profound meditation on the nature of fetishism and transgender sexuality.
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    Staying Grounded

    Ronan Sheehan
    A beautifully written memoir tells the life story of an Irish woman who knew most of the major figures of the bohemian Dublin of the mid-twentieth century, as well as many of the politicians, and who went on to carve out a successful career for herself in the travel business.
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    Out Of Their Feeling

    Mary O’Donnell
    A sparkling novel which traces the voyage of a number of young women transported to Australia to work in and help populate the ‘new land’ suggests that people can sometimes have surprising powers of adaptation, but also that they may need to forget their past.
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    Tales from the Margin

    Susan Knight
    Phyl Herbert writes in a clear, fluent style. Her stories are delicately constructed miniatures, tender glimpses into her often flawed characters as they make the best of their way through life.
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    Mean Streets

    Gerard Lee
    Lisa McInerney’s first novel can be tender but it is no romance, turning us down some grotty alleyways to where her real story lurks, dragging a spliff to the lip-burn and scrunching the last dregs from a can.
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    It’s That Man Again

    Eoghan Smith
    It’s That Man Again
    Banville’s heroes are by now familiar to us. Remote, middle-aged elitist types, tortured by the burden of existence and the shadow of death, they may not be hugely wealthy but are never poor. Often they are on the margins of a declining gentry that exudes old-world mystique.
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    Singing the Body Electric

    Nessa O’Mahony
    Many fine poets writing in the Irish language stay beneath the general radar unless their work is translated or if, more rarely, they venture into English-language publication. Not so Doireann Ni Ghríofa, who arrives well-garlanded with awards and recommendations.
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    Gaelic and Catholic?

    Niall Ó Ciosáin
    Gaelic and Catholic?
    The coincidence of an enthusiasm for Gaelic culture and devout Catholicism in many of the revolutionary generation, and later in the official ideology of the state, disguises the indifference or hostility of the church to the Irish language in the nineteenth century.
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    Solitary Prowler

    Gerard Smyth
    Dublin has been central to Thomas Kinsella’s imagination. No other writer since Joyce has so fervently mapped the city, and few writers have known it so intimately, having repeatedly walked its streets in meditation, the onward path always leading inwards.
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    Eating Crow

    George O’Brien
    An arresting debut novel is a notable contribution to the genre of Irish populist gothic and is dark enough to make one wonder if it might not be the last word on broken-family, ruined-child tropes of betrayal and inadequacy.
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    The Canon in Irish Language Fiction

    Brian Ó Conchubhair and Philip O’Leary
    A conference held in Dublin earlier this year set itself the difficult task of identifying the fifteen leading Irish language novels published in the twentieth century. Much debate was occasioned, and will no doubt continue, but a list of (in fact sixteen) works was arrived at.
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    Necessary Things

    Richard Hayes
    There are no pyrotechnics in Gerald Dawe’s new collection; the poems go about their business quietly, presenting the reader, it seems, with cases to be considered, never forcing ‑ neither in formal terms nor in argument ‑ the reader towards certain ends.
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    Noisy as the Grave

    Philip O’Leary
    Noisy as the Grave
    An English rendering of a classic modernist Irish novel has found a translator who can do justice to its playfulness, delight in puns, neologisms, scurrilities and malapropisms and its ability to create and sustain a coherent world through rolling floods of words.
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    Between Two Rooms

    Matthew Parkinson-Bennett
    For many Irish emigrants, and particularly female ones and better educated ones, moving abroad has been less a question of exile than one of escape. For writers, however, there is frequently no escape from considering what it means to be Irish, or to be Irish abroad.
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    Sound, from Top to Toe

    Carlo Gébler
    The work of the Fermanagh poet and editor Frank Ormsby is notable for its quietness, its lucidity, its scrupulous particularity and specificity, its modesty (there is no showing off – ever), its respect for the reader, and – hold onto your hats – its accessibility.
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    Echoes from the Cistern

    Thomas McCarthy
    There is nothing tentative, or merely suggestive, in Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin’s new collection. Her academic training is outraged by vagueness, so that the poems grab a firm hold of their subject-matter; the work is pre-meditated, never a pen shuffling in the hope of inspiration.
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    Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang

    Pauline Hall
    The first of a series of essays on fictions inspired by the 1916 Easter Rising looks at a work by Raymond Queneau, a French disciple of Joyce whose total experience of Ireland, he has admitted was a short stopover at Shannon Airport on the way to the United States.
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    The Rolling English Road

    Andrew Lees
    The Rolling English Road
    Jim Phelan, born in the last decade of the nineteenth century in Inchicore in Dublin, was condemned to death for murder, served a long sentence in various prisons and on his release became a tramp, a novelist and a writer and broadcaster on the traditions of tramps and gypsies.
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    Rousing the Reader

    Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin
    It is language itself ‑ its multiplicity, its straining after meaning, the assumptions buried within it ‑ that are illuminated by Paul Muldoon’s work, with the best poems, in his words, giving the alert reader the answers ‘to questions that only they have raised’.
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    Well, Kerrang!!!

    Peter Sirr
    Michael Hofmann is a poet, essayist and translator. The latter activity, he has said, he undertakes partially to compensate for the slimness of his poetic work but he also has strong views, in particular noisily rejecting the idea that translation should be transparent or impersonal.
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    He Had to Do Something

    George O’Brien
    Sean O’Faoláin was not exactly a man of the people but a man who had ideas of the people. He was a Catholic, but he’d be damned if he was an Irish Catholic, and his taste veered towards the haute bourgeois, which was not the kind of thing you would shop locally for.
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    Not all Beef and Ale

    John McCourt
    Anthony Trollope has the reputation of being a conventional and comfortable writer, valued by various Tory prime ministers as a purveyor of enjoyable light political intrigue but in his Irish novels he emerges as a somewhat more complex and double-sided figure.
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    Getting It Down Right

    Paula McGrath
    In an interview, Éilís Ní Dhuibhne talks Paula McGrath about the discipline of writing, writing in different genres, the teaching of creative writing and the differences between tackling a novel and a short story.
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    Shadow Poems

    Paul Perry
    Brought up speaking Irish by a Belfast father who was also immersed in Esperanto, Ciaran Carson has translated the poems of a French writer who said he loved his language so much he could learn no other – yet he appeared familiar with the verse of English peasant poet John Clare.
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    A Fierce Eye

    Gerald Dawe
    At the heart of Derek Mahon’s new prose collection there is a lot of truth-telling going on about the artist’s life. It is a far cry from the showy, silly lifestyle version we are offered daily from media-hungry celebs, asking the reader to feel their pain.
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    The Better Truth

    Philip Coleman
    Theo Dorgan’s new collection contains many moving elegies for lost friends but also some of the most moving and beautiful love poems written by any poet writing in English over the last few decades.
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    Consoling Songs

    Richard Hayes
    Peter Fallon recognises bleakness – the barbed wire of the concentration camp ‘a crown of thorns around the temple of the world’. But, like Orpheus, he can too shape consoling songs from the shards of his own sorrow.
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    Sharp words from elsewhere

    Thomas McCarthy
    Like a cranky uncle who has spent too long in the tropics, Harry Clifton has thrown insults at every poet-cousin he has read, yet his own verse seems to know more and to be wiser than his often ill-advised urges to lecture others on what they are doing wrong might suggest.
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    A Life in Books

    Carlo Gébler
    Denis Sampson’s memoir has no major dramas, and all its crises are inward and personal. Nevertheless it gives readers a sense of what constitutes the real value and the real worth of literature and  writers a sense of what is possible, which can only be good for standards.
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    Good Remembering

    Gerald Dawe interviewed by Andrea Rea
    Five questions for Gerald Dawe from US radio journalist and presenter Andrea Dawe on the occasion of the publication of his collection Mickey Finn’s Air cover composition and selection, memories of Galway and the difference between nostalgia and sentimentality.
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    Time is What We’re Made of

    Ailbhe Darcy
    Peter Sirr professes wariness of ‘consoling fictions’, of too easy moments of spiritual plenitude, which too easily pass from us again. His new collection catalogues temporary moments of access to the eternal, but it also stresses our inevitable mortality.
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    Hidden Irelands

    Lia Mills
    Celia de Fréine seems to have arrived on the literary scene late but fully formed: as though she waited until her voice was mature to publish at all. Since she started, she’s been unstoppable. In an interview, she talks about the gestation of her work and her return to earlier ‘shelved’ work.
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    The Gaelic Hit Factory

    Michael Cronin
    In what might be called the cartoon version of our modern history, the Irish language is corralled in with land and religion as a shibboleth of the anti-modern. This is to ignore elements of the language movement which were innovative, dynamic and successful.
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    The Lightning and the Thunder

    Philip Coleman
    A study marked by brilliant analyses of some remarkable works of poetry and fiction written by US authors in the first half of the twentieth century allows us to hear inflections of voice that owe much to an enchantment with Ireland – that ‘Celtic parcel of irresistible allure’.
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    The Coast of Bohemia

    Maurice Earls
    One result of living behind the wall of large states that stands between us and central Europe is the tendency to see our history as somewhat unusual. Irish history is certainly very different from British, Dutch, French and Spanish imperial history but much less so if one looks a little beyond.
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    Friends and Elegies

    Florence Impens
    Michael Longley’s new collection invites us to consider and accept the presence of death within life, and their interconnectedness, which modern society often tends to forget. It is, however, far from being a dark volume.
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    Hostage to Fortune

    George O'Brien
    Brendan Behan’s brief, self-destructive moment in the American spotlight is a cautionary tale of excess. But we should also ask in whose interest was the myth of the man created? And what need did the wild Irishman fulfil for the American media and its audience?
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    New Poems

    Gerald Dawe
    These four new poems by Gerald Dawe are from Mickey Finn’s Air, to be published later this year by Gallery Press
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    But I Live in Dublin

    Sean Sheehan
    The Dublin Notebook, appearing as the seventh volume in OUP’s collected Hopkins, is an exemplary work of scholarship and from now any serious piece of writing about the last phase of Hopkins’s life will rely on and be grateful for the painstaking work of its two editors.
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    Tell me about your Mother

    Susan McCallum Smith
    Nuala Ní Chonchúir’s new novel portrays the challenge of being both mother and artist, its most interesting character an emotionally abusive alcoholic for whom motherhood has not been enough and who dares to suggest it is possible for a mother to feel ambivalence toward her child.
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    One City, Many Voices

    Lucy Collins
    One City, Many Voices
    A new collection confines itself to poems about the city of Dublin but does not lack breadth or variety, spanning the centuries, including outsider as well as insider perspectives, and placing the old in dialogue with the new.
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    Joyce’s Comic Strips

    Keith Payne
    A well-drawn portrait of our greatest artist that recounts some of the adventures of his life and work might be just the thing to perk up the days and weeks beyond Bloomsday, when, as like as not, rain could well again be general over Ireland.
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    Girl Trouble

    Maureen O’Connor
    Girl Trouble
    Edna O’Brien’s The Country Girls was published in London in 1960 and almost immediately banned in Ireland. It has never since been out of print, its author has continued to publish successfully, to enjoy a high reputation internationally and to be translated into many European languages. And yet she is still not quite accepted by many in her native country.
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    Snap, Crackle and Pop

    Susan McCallum Smith
    Snap, Crackle and Pop
    Emma Donoghue’s Frog Music is the latest evidence of the writer’s ability to create rich characters and stories in whichever historical context she chooses. But do the historical research and narrative brio sometimes come at the expense of deeper introspection for the novel’s characters and a more satisfying grappling with the human condition?
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    This Life a Long Disease

    James Ward
    Some recent writers have strongly emphasised the morbidity of Jonathan Swift’s temper, but a new biography restores some balance, putting the Dean’s apparent savagery into the context of his century and equally emphasising his huge gifts and the glamour and intrigue of parts of his life.
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    Plunkett’s City

    Gerald Dawe
    Walks through Dublin’s streets and slums, and through the leafy avenues of the airy and salubrious suburb of Kingstown, punctuate James Plunkett’s Strumpet City, casting light on the social divisions of the city and the political tensions which, as the book opens in 1907, are just beginning to bubble up.
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    Sometimes it’s Hard to be a Man

    Terence Killeen
    Sometimes it’s Hard to be a Man
    The ambiguous concept of “manliness” played an interesting role in the Irish Revival, posing a dilemma for both men and women in relation to an ultimately colonial ideal. Through this lens, Joseph Valente has dismantled the edifice of Revivalist ideology.
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    Ulster Polyphony

    Gerald Dawe
    Northern literature and culture, if it was seen to exist at all before the 1960s renaissance, tended to be blackened by a caricatural view of the wider culture, seen as ‘dour’. John Hewitt’s memoir of the 30s and 40s, however, shows that there were many and varied voices at work.
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    The Big Cabbage

    Michael Hinds
    The Big Cabbage
    In the original Chandler novels, mansions, money and manicured lawns did not necessarily presage either virtue or happiness. In Black-Banville’s remake we seem to have taken cognisance of what has happened in the interim, with a Philip Marlowe who strangely equates sports cars and ‘money to burn’ with ‘class’.
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    Discovering Shan Bullock

    Patrick Maume
    Patrick Maume illustrates this overlooked author’s contribution to Irish literary fiction, focusing on how Bullock’s own childhood and relationship with his father was integral to his depiction of small farming society in the borderlands of South Ulster.
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    When Not To Listen

    Gerard Smyth
    Sinéad Morrissey has written of how she learned from the Welsh poet RS Thomas how to ignore, when necessary, a hostile environment and the play of literary fashions: half the battle is knowing what not to listen to.
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    Gianni in Buncrana

    Carol Taaffe
    He came from out foreign and he spoke wild funny. All the older girls thought he was the last word from the day and hour they set eyes on him but they were stupid, and he would no more look at them than if he was the man in the moon.
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    The Listener

    Gerald Dawe
    The Listener
    The gifts that those who knew him would expect to encounter, intelligence, wit and playfulness, are in ample evidence in Dennis O’Driscoll’s posthumous prose collection, as is his conviction of the central importance of poetry and what it can do.
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    Recovering Princes, Respected Prelates, Reduced Poets

    John Minahane
    Recovering Princes, Respected Prelates, Reduced Poets
    There appears to be some repressive force, almost an enchantment, affecting academic thinking. The experts cannot or will not suspect, let alone address, the crucial position of poets in Gaelic civilisation and in Ireland’s enigmatic history.
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    Frolicking in the Ether

    Ailbhe Darcy
    Ciaran Perry’s second poetry collection has feel of a project wholly preconceived and systematically carried out, almost like a doctoral dissertation. Fortunately, he has knitted so skilfully that the sense of a systematic project pales, in the end, against the sense of an achievement.
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    Tales from Bective

    Jana Fischerova
    None of Mary Lavin’s books was actually ever banned, but some critics argue that in order to survive in an era of harsh censorship she may have learned to rely on devices such as ellipsis, allusion and irony more extensively than would otherwise have been the case.
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    A Tiny Space of Little Importance

    Ailbhe Darcy
    As most of Ireland seethes at the individuals who prospered while the country pitched over into a financial sump, Justin Quinn has composed a novel that not only asks us to sympathise with one of those wealthy figures but actually to accept him as a tragic hero.
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    Rebroadcast Voices

    Florence Impens
    A new collection of translations from Derek Mahon defends the notion of a republic of letters, where writers do not write in the isolation of their own language but in a conversation that goes beyond temporal and geographical borders, as well as beyond cultural differences.
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    Imagining the Others

    Eoghan Smith
    Imagining the Others
    An accessible crime thriller it may be, but John Banville’s most celebrated novel also marks out his singular intellectual ambition, an ambition that in the early 1970s Seamus Deane recognised as distinguishing him from all other young Irish writers.
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    Outlasting Fashion

    Gerald Dawe
    Outlasting Fashion
    The notions of rule and order that Richard Murphy inherited from his colonial administrator father have been put to different use by him in fashioning a body of poetic work that will endure.
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    Kin and Kingship

    Máire Herbert
    A Middle Irish saga, second only in reputation to the Tain, has been republished in a new scholarly edition whose introduction brings out the work’s narrative artistry and coherence.
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    No Pact With Progress

    Marion Kelly
    In 1974 the Limerick poet Michael Hartnett announced from the stage of a Dublin theatre that he would no longer write in English, a decision which, he informed the audience, gave him somewhere to stand.
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    The Old Boot Resouled

    Mícheál Ó hAodha
    The Innti generation of Irish-language writers recast poetry for a new generation of urban dwellers and imbued it with the revolutionary and liberating sentiments of the time.
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    Evil Literature

    Eamon Maher
    Evil Literature
    A new survey deals with literature and sexuality in Ireland from Joyce to McGahern, taking in the background of shrill clerical warnings of moral dangers and occasions of sin and a more humane and well-intentioned, if much mocked, strain of advice to the young and inexperienced.
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    The Writing Cure

    David Blake Knox
    Ross Skelton’s memoir of his Antrim childhood and his unhappy relationship with his father casts light on some of the hidden complexities of Ulster society in the middle of the last century and is likely to prove a work of lasting value.
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    The Empathy Man

    Ruth Gilligan
    Finishing a novel for Colum McCann feels like finishing a PhD. He upends the traditional maxim to “write what you know” in favour of writing “what you want to know”.
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    A Millionaire of Words

    Morten Høi Jensen
    Joyce’s funny, moving and infuriating masterpiece should send us, not into the cold and sterile embrace of the examination room, but out again into the warm and throbbing world.
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    Trompe l’Oeil

    Keith Payne
    All is very far from what it seems in a literary mystery novel by poet Ciaran Carson set in Belfast and Paris.
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    Not telling

    Maureen O’Connor
    Edna O’Brien’s memoir refuses to satisfy our curiosity or submit to the demands for interpretation. She has fought others’ desire for control from childhood, and in her eighties is still fighting.
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    Interrupted Lives

    Gerald Dawe
    Fate dealt harshly with both JG Farrell and Stewart Parker, two hugely gifted Irish writers who died in their forties

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    The Noble Earl

    Mícheál Ó hAodha

    A historical novel based on a fourteenth century Hiberno-Norman chieftain reminds us that Ireland was a multilingual and multicultural country long before any of us were born.
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    Exuberantly Pluralist

    Paul Delaney
    George O’Brien’s impressive survey of fifty years of the Irish novel is inclusive, eclectic and insistently diverse.

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    LITERATURE IS ALWAYS NOW

    Gerald Dawe

    The idea of retreat or retrenchment might surprise those who see nothing but good in the present, with its ceaselessly productive creative arts, but Derek Mahon wants nothing to do with this cheerful complacency.
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    Documents of a Spiritual Resistance

    John Minahane
    Of the love poems, the two outstanding examples are by an archbishop of Tuam, Maol Mhuire Ó hUigín. One is addressed to a young man called Eoghan, but the point is to warn this youth not to fall in love with a woman, as the poet has done ... “Don’t look,” is the message, “and if you find yourself looking, look away!” But as the poet goes on to describe the eye, the cheek, the lip that Eoghan may see if he looks, the calf, the instep, the foot, it is obvious that he cannot take his own advice. The misanthropy or misogyny which often comes into poems like this is absent.
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    Flash Fiction

    Winners
    There are things you can do when your husband sleeps with your sister. You can sit in your studio and imagine them together, the toad and the mouse. Him moving over her. Her on top of him. You can hear dark skin slap against honey skin; you can hear moans. But he is your toad and she is your mouse – your Diego and your Cristina – so you drown those thoughts because they bring more tears than a blood-letting.
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    The Big Splatter

    John Montague
    What is truly dazzling in Heaney is his descriptive power, his almost hymn to a Conway Stewart fountain pen, or glimpses of his father performing a farmyard task, wrought to a hallucinatory, Van Gogh-like intensity. Like Gerard Manley Hopkins, Seamus is a mystic of the ordinary, which he renders extraordinary, though unlike Hopkins he does not leap towards God.
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    New Irelands

    Barra Ó Seaghdha
    French Catholic culture offered a supplementary world, and in some cases a focus for unfulfilled longings, for those who found Free State culture insufficient or repetitive. Conor Cruise O’Brien’s Maria Cross can strike today’s reader as brilliantly eccentric, an anomaly; it should instead be regarded as the finest analytical product of a culture we have almost forgotten.
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    Ancestral Vices

    Rosita Sweetman
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