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

The Spirit of Cities

Leanne Ogasawara
Cities are smells: Cairo is mango and ginger, Beirut sun, sea, smoke and lemons. But in many of our cities the waters are rising. In Bangkok the water is inexorably reaching up and those familiar fragrances we have loved ‑ of noodles, tiger balm and teak – may soon be washed away.
Oct 7, 2020, 10:42 AM

Scourging Buffoonery

Amanda Bell
Rita Ann Higgins’s new collection ranges from polemical pandemic poems to a meditation on the society which locked up its unwanted – ‘poor devils with leaky brains and acres galore’ – and a caustic satire on those Christian Irish who wish to offer asylum only to Christians.
Oct 7, 2020, 10:33 AM

Imperial Warrior

Angus Mitchell
Kennedy Trevaskis was a colonial administrator for the British empire until, in 1964, he was sacked by a Labour minister he sneered at as ‘a Hampstead Socialist’. His memoir reminds us of a vanished world of empire in which, to those in charge, black lives didn’t greatly matter.
Oct 7, 2020, 10:26 AM

Do not laugh, do not dance

Rosita Sweetman
Large numbers of Moroccan women confided to Leila Slimani, on a book tour to promote her first novel, their ‘sexual suffering, frustration and alienation’. Their stories, with a blistering commentary from Slimani, make for a frightening but fascinating account of her country’s repressive culture.
Oct 7, 2020, 10:17 AM

Empire Loyalists

Maurice Walsh
For Walter Bagehot, the best-known editor of ‘The Economist’, the prospect of workers organising to defend their interests represented ‘an evil of the first magnitude’. The paper’s first love, however, was always empire, British of course; but after that ran out of road American would do.
Oct 7, 2020, 10:06 AM

Her Dance with History

Theo Dorgan
One might have expected of Eavan Boland’s posthumously published last collection a certain composure, poems that would speak at last of a history in which she could, finally, begin to feel at home, a history of inclusion, of comfort with contradictions. This is not that book.
Oct 7, 2020, 09:54 AM

Il Miglior Fabbro

William Wall
Ezra Pound was a fascist and, even after the Holocaust, an unrepentant antisemite, yet he was also a brilliant poet, a great synthesiser of cultures and absolutely central to Modernism in English as an associate of Eliot and Yeats and a fierce champion of the young James Joyce.
Oct 7, 2020, 09:39 AM

The Right People

Frank Callanan
It is offensive to regard true democratic values as the exclusive possession of classic liberalism. But perhaps we should all audit the prejudices we derive from our own political tribe and orientation and ask what in them might be inessential ‑ or even plain wrong.
Oct 6, 2020, 19:42 PM

Getting it Straight

Sean Nam
After a crisis of faith in the early 1890s Paul Valéry abandoned poetry for some decades. He didn’t stop writing, however, getting up at dawn each day to work on his notebooks, 250 of them eventually, occupying 27,000 pages. This intellectual exercise he kept up for fifty years.
Oct 6, 2020, 19:39 PM

Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow

John Fanning
Many huge companies continue to ignore environmental and societal issues and carry on despoiling the planet and exploiting their workers in the name of profit maximisation. But such organisations – let us call them the ‘hairy bacon capitalists’ – are not immune to public opinion.
Oct 6, 2020, 19:31 PM

All Together Now

John Toohey

Making a ‘national’ anthology of stories poses a problem: is there an essence that has to be captured? To be British in the 1920s was to believe that the national story had been progressive, from hut to glass tower, feudalism to universal suffrage, and that the future was a continuum.

Oct 6, 2020, 19:26 PM


Dawn Miranda Sherratt-Bado
In Elizabeth Bowen’s novel ‘The Last September’, the young heroine is on the cusp of independence, as indeed is, on a separate track, the country she lives in. Bowen masterfully portrays a social caste paralysed by its inability to either identify with the new or let go of the old.
Oct 6, 2020, 19:23 PM

Defending the Union

Henry Patterson
The social democratisation of the Northern Irish state after 1945 transformed the life chances of working class children both Catholic and Protestant, yet the ruling party maintained its ethnic ethos and kowtowed to Protestant ultras on issues like the flag and the Orange Order’s right to march.
Oct 6, 2020, 19:10 PM

Faith and Hope

Barry Houlihan
In Brian Friel’s classic play, the characters’ lives are inextricably intertwined by faith – faith in the healer, faith that they can escape their pasts, faith that they can survive. They are also driven by the blind hope that only true faith provides. But what happens when that faith threatens to break?
Oct 6, 2020, 19:07 PM

Hungarian Connections

Martin Greene
The reasons for the presence of so much Hungarian-related material in ‘Ulysses’ are unknown, but Bloom’s foreign origins clearly facilitate his portrayal as an outsider, while the fact that some of Joyce’s closest associates in Trieste and Zurich had Hungarian family connections may also have been a factor.
Oct 6, 2020, 19:03 PM