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

The Fall of Ireland

Dermot Bolger
New Island

The Fall of Ireland


Why shouldn't he have a massage, here alone in his room? His shoulders felt stiff, even after the swim. It would help him to sleep before the final day of meetings to come. Beijing is where you could get anything you wanted, all the guide­books said this. But what he really wanted was something that he actually only wanted in his mind. He didn't wish to start wandering down side streets where nobody spoke English, with a scam merchant on every corner, a pimp at your elbow and a begging child in your eye-line. As a younger man he had enjoyed forays into such districts, the sense of being close to danger with­out actually committing himself to it. But tonight he just wanted to relax and eventually sleep. He wanted the feel of a warm hand touching his skin in a safe and controlled way. It was so long since anyone touched him. On those occasions when Rachel did embrace him now, he could feel something within her push him away. Even their rare embraces had become too complicated.

'I'm simply trying to live in the moment' Rachel had become fond of saying. 'You brood too much, you complicate everything. Maybe you should see a life coach to learn to live in the moment too!

He was still holding the printed price-list for Chinese and Asian massages and Thai foot massage..