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

The State of Us

Dawn Miranda Sherratt-Bado
Elaine Feeney combines linguistic verve, biting irony and unflinching commentary on modern Ireland to produce a tragicomic tour-de-force. Shocking, exhilarating and life-affirming, ‘As You Were’ is a masterful debut by a fresh new voice in Irish fiction.
Apr 2, 2020, 17:17 PM

Getting Away

Caitriona Clear
A necessary literary device to throw characters together in unfamiliar settings, communal family/friend away-events feature a lot in genre and popular fiction. If fiction teaches us anything it is that we should steer well clear of attempting anything similar in real life.
Apr 2, 2020, 17:13 PM

Into Us to Keep

Magdalena Kay
Seamus Heaney’s Virgil translation was one of a number of posthumous publications, but now it seems there is no more to come. As Auden wrote in memory of Yeats, the poet has become his admirers. And of course there are the poems, on offer here in a new selection by Heaney’s family.
Apr 2, 2020, 17:08 PM


Anna Benn
For Michael, the engineer protagonist of Adrian Duncan’s new novel, lovers’ entwined arms are a reminder of the connections of girders on a suspension bridge. For readers sated with sensitive literary heroes, Duncan analytical and oblique approach to relationships could come as a relief.
Apr 2, 2020, 17:05 PM

Daddy’s Girl

David O’Connor
Laura wants to be a big-time sharp-talking actress like those in the ’40s films noirs she watched with her father. She has loads of parts in her: ‘easy-to-see parts and long forgotten parts and parts I encounter in my problematic dreams. I have shadow parts. They do not wish me well.’
Apr 2, 2020, 16:58 PM

The Ring of Truth

Theo Dorgan
There are things you ‘know for a fact’ but perhaps cannot prove. Sometimes the frustration of such situations can drive a journalist to turn to fiction, as Frank Connolly has done with a compelling story set against the background of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of 1974.
Apr 2, 2020, 16:51 PM

The God in the Attic

Fintan Calpin
The astonishing achievement of Marieke Lucas Rijneveld’s writing is its construction of a world of metaphor and simile which is punctured and disrupted by the real. Her novel is the work of a poet, for whom the sensuousness of the material world is a reminder that to compare is to distort.
Apr 2, 2020, 16:45 PM

In Deep Doodoo

Alan O’Farrell
Scandals which cause huge political ripples and even topple governments can result from both political and civil-service incompetence. A special adviser to Arlene Foster said that during his entire time in Stormont he never once saw minutes of a meeting involving his minister.
Apr 2, 2020, 16:41 PM

Other Voices

Mícheál Ó hAodha

Where are the working people and the working class experience reflected in Ireland’s artistic and cultural sphere? Where are the struggles of those who have no permanent roof over their head and who are shunted from one room to another described?

Apr 2, 2020, 16:34 PM

Kicking Against the Bricks

Daniel Fraser
Lars Iyer’s new novel, like his previous work, pushes away from the heaviness and satisfaction of much contemporary fiction, with passion, wit and a combination of philosophical depth and comedic play that are engaging, frequently brilliant and joyous.
Apr 2, 2020, 15:29 PM

Who Will Save Us?

Kevin Power
As ‘end of the world’ scenarios assume increasing plausibility, the canonisation of Greta Thunberg becomes completely intelligible. It’s just one of myriad ways in which the religious imagination continues to shape the secular world, like a restless sleeper disturbing a thin blanket.
Apr 2, 2020, 14:46 PM

A Gratuitous Assault

Maureen O’Connor
Because Edna O’Brien’s family had a nice enough house and the children got educated, her circumstances couldn’t have been all that bad, a ‘New Yorker’ profile argues. This betrays a startling ignorance of the economic, social and ideological conditions of mid-twentieth-century Ireland.
Apr 2, 2020, 14:32 PM

Brilliant Youths

Joseph Leahy
The key to understanding the appeal of Sally Rooney’s fiction lies in her ability to conjure generational concerns that are instantly recognisable but still transcend cliché. This is harder than it sounds: cliché forms at an accelerated rate in our hyper-saturated media environment.
Apr 2, 2020, 14:15 PM

The Capital of Modernity

Terence Killeen
When James Joyce chose exile he opted not for England, where the Irish writer was an entertainer, but Paris, the epicentre of a ‘Europe’ that was utterly different from the Anglo-Irish world in which he had grown up, a world full of possibilities, openness and experiment.
Apr 2, 2020, 14:02 PM

The Long Road to Peace

John Swift
On whether strategic thinking in peace negotiations should outweigh moral considerations, Bertie Ahern’s mind was clear. Isolating the extremes and supporting the moderates would not solve the problem: the challenge was to make peace with your enemies, not your friends.
Apr 2, 2020, 13:57 PM

What Is To Be Done?

John Fanning
The business corporation has been in existence for centuries, but it was only in the last fifty years that the primacy of maximising shareholder return as its sole purpose was established as dogma. But now that dogma is being challenged, and sometimes in unlikely quarters.
Apr 2, 2020, 13:51 PM

Humans and Other Animals

Róisín Kennedy
In an age obsessed with technology and consumerism Janet Mullarney’s work reverts to a basic humanity, but does so in complex ways. Her art, Declan McGonagle has written, reminds us ‘that we all swim in a sea of continuities, of memories and dreams which suffuse our reality’.
Apr 2, 2020, 13:46 PM

Not With A Bang

Tadhg Hoey
In previous ages, the apocalypse was envisaged as a great, singular occurrence. What marks our age out more than previous ones may be the realisation that what we had thought of as one apocalyptically levelling event might rather come for us in a multitude of smaller waves.
Apr 2, 2020, 13:36 PM

Father of Us All

Sean Worgan
Arthur Griffith, the founder of the Sinn Féin movement in 1905, has been criticised over many of his attitudes, notably an alleged antisemitism and a lack of enthusiasm for the labour movement. A new biography seeks to qualify and contextualise some of these judgments
Apr 2, 2020, 13:06 PM

Rude Mechanicals?

David Blake Knox
The 19th century construction of Irish identity involved opposition to ‘English materialism’, with an accompanying tendency to belittle or exclude the industrial North East. But is Protestant desire to be ‘fully national’ sometimes like a man wanting to rent a room in another’s house?
Apr 2, 2020, 12:59 PM