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

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.
Oct 5, 2010, 01:00 AM

Flash Fiction

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.
Sep 14, 2011, 17:27 PM

Ancestral Vices

Rosita Sweetman
Mar 4, 2008, 22:03 PM

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.
Dec 5, 2011, 15:31 PM

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.
Apr 21, 2013, 17:19 PM

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.
Nov 2, 2009, 21:03 PM

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.
May 6, 2013, 16:30 PM

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”.
Jun 4, 2013, 09:01 AM

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.
Jun 16, 2013, 21:29 PM

Evil Literature

Eamon Maher
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.
Sep 9, 2013, 11:28 AM

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.
Oct 6, 2013, 21:20 PM

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.
Oct 6, 2013, 21:37 PM

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.
Oct 20, 2013, 21:47 PM

Outlasting Fashion

Gerald Dawe
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.
Oct 20, 2013, 22:02 PM

Imagining the Others

Eoghan Smith
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.
Oct 20, 2013, 22:08 PM

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.
Nov 18, 2013, 14:14 PM

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.
May 6, 2013, 14:33 PM

Interrupted Lives

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

Feb 11, 2013, 15:35 PM

Exuberantly Pluralist

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

Jan 14, 2013, 16:22 PM


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.
Nov 22, 2012, 19:23 PM