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

Town and Country

Kevin Barry (ed)


  From Introduction

Ireland is not so much a country as a planet. Perception operates differently here. When our writers face up to the world, I believe they work off a certain hard-to-define oddness as they set about perceiving it and recording it. Maybe there is a particular tone or note that's sounded often - a kind of laughter in the dark. Or, more specifically, against the dark. You are going to hear that note on so many of these pages.



So I sent out the pleading emails and the begging letters and I made the discreet phone calls, and I waited, in modest expectation, at home in County Sligo. For a while, silence. But then, somewhere among the occult mists of autumn, the stories started to take shape and ap­pear out there, and they came skittering along the road, and I hauled them into the house, one by one, and ran a sceptic's eye over them.

And I was awed. Not just by the quality of the finish and the nimble delicacy of the engineering, but by the sheer variety of the methods employed - there are so many modes of attack on the short story as a form now; these writers are up to all sorts.

There are carefully crafted stories here in a classical mode but there are riffs and rants, too, and stories that employ documentary techniques, or delve into the mys­tics of psychogeography