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

The Rolling English Road

Andrew Lees
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.
May 9, 2015, 17:01 PM

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.
May 10, 2015, 10:56 AM

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.
May 10, 2015, 11:22 AM

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.
Jun 7, 2015, 08:48 AM

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.
Jun 7, 2015, 09:04 AM

Noisy as the Grave

Philip O’Leary
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.
Jun 7, 2015, 10:33 AM

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.
Jun 8, 2015, 10:33 AM

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.
Jun 8, 2015, 10:47 AM

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.
Jun 8, 2015, 10:52 AM

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.
Jul 12, 2015, 07:47 AM

Gaelic and Catholic?

Niall Ó Ciosáin
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.
Jul 12, 2015, 08:39 AM

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.
Jul 12, 2015, 10:02 AM

It’s That Man Again

Eoghan Smith
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.
Aug 30, 2015, 12:42 PM

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.
Aug 31, 2015, 10:47 AM

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.
Aug 31, 2015, 10:53 AM

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.
Aug 31, 2015, 11:07 AM

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.
Aug 31, 2015, 11:10 AM

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.
Oct 4, 2015, 09:04 AM

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.
Oct 4, 2015, 09:24 AM

Scripts and Prescriptions

Benjamin Keatinge
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.
Oct 4, 2015, 10:36 AM