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

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.
Dec 1, 2013, 20:57 PM

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.
Jan 28, 2013, 21:08 PM

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.
Jan 26, 2014, 21:16 PM

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.
Jan 26, 2014, 21:27 PM

Recovering Princes, Respected Prelates, Reduced Poets

John Minahane
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.
Jan 26, 2014, 21:48 PM

The Listener

Gerald Dawe
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.
Jan 26, 2014, 21:58 PM

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.
Feb 9, 2014, 21:02 PM

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.
Feb 23, 2014, 20:36 PM

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.
Mar 11, 2014, 20:00 PM

The Big Cabbage

Michael Hinds
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’.
Mar 11, 2014, 20:51 PM

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.
Apr 7, 2014, 07:38 AM

Sometimes it’s Hard to be a Man

Terence Killeen
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.
Apr 7, 2014, 07:59 AM

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.
May 5, 2014, 18:19 PM

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.
May 5, 2014, 18:26 PM

Snap, Crackle and Pop

Susan McCallum Smith
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?
May 5, 2014, 19:08 PM

Girl Trouble

Maureen O’Connor
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.
May 5, 2014, 19:28 PM

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.
Jun 15, 2014, 17:31 PM

One City, Many Voices

Lucy Collins
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.
Jun 16, 2014, 09:12 AM

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.
Aug 31, 2014, 15:36 PM

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.
Sep 1, 2014, 08:01 AM