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

    Ordinary Brutalities

    Gavin Foster
    A new study of the Civil War period argues that intimidation was a commonplace weapon deliberately employed by republicans, their supporters, and others to expel vulnerable ‘out-groups’. But how such victimised groups should be defined or categorised is not always clear.


    Tom Wall
    Many young Irishmen went to sea on British vessels in the 1930s. After the outbreak of war some were captured by the Germans, imprisoned and often harshly treated. Though eventually efforts were made to help them, for a long time they seemed to be an embarrassment to the Irish government.

    The View from the Veranda

    Eoin Dillon
    Africa may be said to have two public spheres. In the air-conditioned office visiting officials from the World Bank or the IMF conduct their business. But the veranda is where most Africans do business, transact politics and live their lives. The elite is comfortable in both spaces.

    A Study of Scarlet

    Catherine Marshall
    Michel Pastoureau’s account of the history of the colour red is in many respects fascinating. But what worked well for his previous studies of black, blue and green comes up a little short for red, a colour which is oceanic and in whose multiplicity of meanings one might well drown.

    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.

    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.


    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’.

    Circuitry of the Snowflake

    Florian Gargaillo
    The late Elise Partridge’s poems dealing with her cancer note that blurred vision can be a side effect of treatment. Yet even blurred vision - the alphabet letters b and d made out as ‘beer-bellied cousins’ – can for a poet mean enhanced vision, and seeing anew through metaphor and analogy.

    A Bhealach Féin

    Ronan Sheehan
    The writer and thinker Desmond Fennell has spent nearly seven decades searching for ways in which we – the Irish that is, but not just the Irish – might live a civilised and decent life. If we had already been close to being able to live such a life there would have been no need for the search.

    Hunger Amid Plenty

    Margaret Smith
    By late 1846 there were 1,207 inmates in Tralee workhouse and families were being turned away, even though they met the admission criteria. In 1847 the famine worsened, yet the wealthy continued to celebrate festive occasions like the Tralee races with lavish dinners and balls.