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

Angry Old Man

Brian Davey
Friends of Evelyn Waugh often wondered how he could reconcile his beastly behaviour with his deep faith. Waugh was not exactly apologetic: ‘You have no idea how much nastier I would be if I was not a Catholic. Without supernatural aid, I would hardly be a human being.’
Nov 9, 2016, 18:05 PM

Holding Out

Joseph O’Connor
Mary O’Malley’s poems have seen a thing or two, but the light has not gone out. They are honest, tough, tender, beautiful, alive to the redemptive possibilities of Ireland’s languages, tuned into popular speech and ready to walk into the world and find something worth loving.
Oct 6, 2016, 05:27 AM

Cat Menagerie

Clíona Ní Ríordáin
Afric McGlinchey’s second collection revolves around a central conceit – the fisher cat, familiar of the fifteenth century alchemist Dom Perlet. Drowned by ‘vigilantes’ in the Seine, the animal reappeared with its master some time later when they took up their old pursuits anew.
Oct 6, 2016, 05:18 AM

Suffer Little Children

Liza Costello
A collection of poems by Connie Roberts, who grew up in an institution after being removed from a violent home in rural Ireland, portrays her horrific childhood world both inspiringly and artistically, while refusing to ‘tell it slant’ or to ‘gussy it up / in Sunday-best similes’.
Oct 6, 2016, 05:02 AM

After the Catechism

Carmel Heaney
Morality and moral behaviour, based on informed choices, lead to good laws and good policy. There is a concern that, if religious education disappears from schools, society could bankrupt the moral capital accumulated through centuries of Christian faith – unless we have something strong to replace it.
Oct 6, 2016, 04:55 AM

Door Into The Dark

David Wheatley
Proponents of the ‘best are leaving’ theory of emigration deplored the losses but were wary of the suggestion that providing a basic standard of living was any business of the Irish state. Anti-materialists feared prosperity could weaken the racial stock by making life too easy.
Oct 4, 2016, 19:02 PM

The Wicked Uncle

Pádraig Murphy
Stalin learned from Lenin that ruthlessness in pursuit of what might appear an impossible goal could pay off. In addition, the Marxist inheritance deified the State, the bearer of the highest truth of historical progress, while within the state the party was assigned an absolute status.
Oct 4, 2016, 18:52 PM

The Bears and the Bees

Thomas McCarthy
Paula Meehan is an inspiring presence, the most important thinking poet of her generation. Still, it must be said that there are rogues and ruffians among poets too, persons of such low moral character that a blackthorn stick might as well be found in their hands as a pen.
Oct 4, 2016, 18:45 PM

Militant Agnostic

Matthew Parkinson-Bennett
A short book from a veteran British philosopher and populariser of philosophy can be seen as a sustained argument against not religion nor science but the mistaken belief that defending the Enlightenment value of Reason necessitates insisting that all darkness can be explained away.
Oct 4, 2016, 18:33 PM

The Harp That Once

Fintan Vallely
A reprint of an important historical work on Irish music reveals that the Armagh-born collector Edward Bunting with some justice regarded Thomas Moore as having plagiarised his collected and published music and sanitised it, making himself wealthy and famous.
Oct 4, 2016, 18:26 PM


Terence Brown
Louis MacNeice’s career was a matter of negotiating between conflicting realities, Belfast and Dublin, Ireland North and South, Ireland and England, Europe and America, peace and war ‑ he chose London over Ireland and a then non-combatant US lest he miss history.
Oct 4, 2016, 18:22 PM

Cranking it Out

Mark Fitzgerald
The musician John Beckett, cousin of the writer, comes across as a difficult character – some thought a crank. Stories abound of his rudeness, especially with drink taken. His musical tastes too were extreme: Handel was too commercial, Beethoven merely ‘souped-up Haydn’.
Oct 4, 2016, 18:15 PM

The Ends of History

Ciaran Brady
The figure of the Polish-born historian Lewis Namier is at the centre of an entertaining and hugely informative new study of intellectuals and of practising historians ‑ not always a synonymous set ‑ in the post-1945 atmosphere of the Cold War.
Oct 4, 2016, 18:02 PM

A Brief Dream

David McConnell
A thoroughly researched novel centred on the events leading to the 1798 rebellion in the North is both a gripping narrative and a fascinating account of the half-forgotten history of political Presbyterianism, a movement in touch with the most radical ideas in France and America.
Oct 4, 2016, 17:57 PM