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

    A Fire in the Brain

    Declan O’Driscoll
    James Joyce never wanted to believe that his daughter could not be cured of her mental illness, saying ‘whatever spark or gift I possess has been transmitted to Lucia and has kindled a fire in her brain’. The problem was, however, that the fire could not be extinguished.
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    I Would Prefer Not To

    Catherine Kelly
    In Ottessa Moshfegh’s new novel a young woman attempts to whittle her life back to an extreme stillness. Orphaned, disillusioned with the art world and insulated from the need to work by a large inheritance, she can find no particular reason to participate at all.
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    Where The Wild Things Live

    Patricia Craig
    Where The Wild Things Live
    Many books for the young, whether about animals and their habitats or children on a ‘wilderness’ adventure, contain a message which an attentive child may grasp, laying the ground for a future respect for nature, kindness to animals and aversion to environmental destruction.
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    No Way Out

    Síofra Pierse
    No Way Out
    Denis Diderot’s novel The Nun, posthumously published in 1796, is an indictment of the practice of locking up young women against their will in convents. It strikes an uncanny echo in Ireland, where the last punishment facility of the type known as the Magdalene laundry closed 200 years later.
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    An Idea Madder than Usual

    Martin Greene
    It is well-known that Joyce drew on Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s Venus in Furs when writing the sadomasochistic scenes in Ulysses. Masoch’s name today may be chiefly linked to ‘SM’ porn, but there is more to Venus in Furs than that, and indeed more to Masoch than one book.
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    Home As Hell

    Carlo Gébler
    Tara Westover’s childhood was dominated by her father’s apocalyptic beliefs. She was born at home, and never had a birth certificate. She never went to hospital, or to a dentist, or school. Eventually she escaped, but realised that she knew nothing – or nothing that is true – about the world.
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    Beyond the Laws

    Robert Looby
    Beyond the Laws
    Lovers of the plain, the spare, the rational should perhaps avoid Bruno Schulz, an apparently ‘modest teacher’ from a Polish provincial town in whose stories matter has infinite fecundity and we are invited to feel for a table hammered together from ‘alien races of wood that hate one another’.
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    A Reading from the Book of Drones

    Kevin Hargaden
    Marilynne Robinson is a great admirer of former president Barack Obama, and he of her. The gentle humanism they share, however, can only be accepted at face value at the cost of ignoring the civilian victims of America’s war on terror, poor people in faraway places, who it seems don’t count.
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    Nose Stuck in a Book

    Siobhán Parkinson
    Nose Stuck in a Book
    A certain kind of child can be sceptical of the benefits of fresh air, sturdy play or hand-me-down versions of femininity or masculinity, especially when a vast and various world is within reach simply through knowing how 26 letters variously combine and which way up to hold a book.
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    Not At Home

    Dan A O’Brien
    Not At Home
    In Barracoon, Zora Neale Hurston’s documentary narrative from 1931 which has only now been published, the former slave Cudjo gives his children names for the old world they have left behind and the new one in which they now live. But like him, they are at home in neither.
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