"The drb sustains a level of commentary on Irish and international matters that no other journal in Ireland and few elsewhere can reach. It deserves all the support that can be given it." X
Space to Think, a new book celebrating ten years of the Dublin Review of Books More Information 

Team Amis

Kevin Power
To be accepted into Martin Amis’s canon of greats you must be a writer, not necessarily of brilliant novels, or even of brilliant chapters, but of brilliant sentences and paragraphs. Plot, form, structure, psychological insight: all of these are secondary matters.
Nov 5, 2017, 16:52 PM

With Karl and Groucho

Billy Mills
Augustus Young’s imagined conversations between Bertolt Brecht and Walter Benjamin, taking the form of a Socratic dialogue, range across the role of ideas in art, public versus private, the role of the audience, love, happiness, knowledge, Marx (Karl and Groucho) and racism.
Nov 5, 2017, 14:45 PM

Joe’s Golden Years

Giles Newington
Salman Rushdie’s new novel is set in an America switching from Obama to Trump. While it may not be entirely clear what he is telling us about the ‘post-truth’ world, Rushdie’s primary gift as a storyteller seems to have survived in a story full of verve and invention.
Nov 5, 2017, 14:33 PM

Alone in Luanda

Patrick Gillan
An exceptional novel from an Angolan writer details the brutality, cynicism and tragedy of war. Comedy, love and a touch of magic realism also contribute to a riveting narrative. It is a worthy winner of this year’s International Dublin Literary Award
Nov 4, 2017, 11:12 AM

So Many Haters

Michael Hinds
Plato did not hate poetry, though he wished to ban poets from the ideal Republic. In such a state you would not want to let it hold sway, even if in a real one it has its critical power and function. In an ideal Republic of course, you would not feel like a drink after a day’s work ...
Oct 5, 2017, 17:39 PM

Deep Work at Dollarton

Shane Barry
Malcolm Lowry’s Under the Volcano was greeted on its publication as a ‘magnificent, tragic, compassionate, and beautiful book’. Yet its author was a far from beautiful person. How did a chronic alcoholic with a chaotic, violent lifestyle manage to write such a work?
Sep 2, 2017, 18:00 PM

Wandering in the Desert

Ruth Gilligan
Joyce is just one Irish writer who is alert to the Exodus story and its specific resonance within a national context. Hence the parallel between Moses and Parnell, each of whom ‘led a turbulent and unstable people from the house of shame to the verge of the Promised Land’.
Jul 11, 2017, 14:03 PM

At Home in Exile

Scott Beauchamp
Czesław Miłosz may perhaps be understood as the saint of paradox. He was a man who documented his century by standing apart from it, a poet who wrote in Polish while living in France and America, a sensualist who embraced the spiritual, a man who reached home by running away.
Jul 10, 2017, 19:14 PM

A Life of Noticing

Gerald Dawe
The mastery of American English which we associate with Richard Ford’s fiction – the subtle not-saying, the deflection of painful emotional realities into half-said or half-seen things – is abundantly present in a memoir in which he recalls and recreates the lives of his parents.
Jul 10, 2017, 18:56 PM

The Trap

Clare O'Dea
A compelling and thoroughly researched novel focuses on the experiences of the refugees and the clients of people traffickers as they are ‘processed’ through the British asylum system, often towards a bleak conclusion, while struggling to maintain some dignity and hope.
Jul 10, 2017, 18:49 PM

Quick! What Would You Read?

Matthew Parkinson Bennett
Writing is tough, but Annie Dillard doesn’t put on a performance of her struggle to transmute experience into literature. She is a writer who believes – how old-fashioned! – in the possibility of truly powerful literature and its urgent importance, in reaching towards an imagined reader, and touching a real one.
Jul 10, 2017, 17:22 PM

Reading the Revolution

Sean Sheehan
A plethora of new books has appeared this year, accompanied by a number of exhibitions, in response to the centenary of the Russian Revolution, the remarkable political energies it released worldwide throughout the twentieth century and its still contested historical legacy.
Jun 8, 2017, 20:05 PM

Sonic Reinventions

Jonathan C Creasy
In the collection Alive, Elizabeth Willis proves herself a lyric poet, a pastoral poet, a prose poet, an historical poet, a political poet, a ‘language’ poet, a post-modern sonneteer, a list-maker, an ironic prankster, a confessionalist, and a minimalist, at least.
Jun 8, 2017, 19:39 PM

It’s Only Me

Enda O’Doherty
Michel de Montaigne lived through the French wars of religion and was involved in many attempts on behalf of his king to broker a peace. On the whole, however, he preferred to be occupied with his books, which he insisted he read not to improve but to amuse himself.
May 6, 2017, 17:44 PM

Genesis to Apocalypse

Alan Crilly
In a new short collection, the young Bolivian writer Liliana Colanzi touches on themes of domestic oppression and the cultural extinction of indigenous peoples in stories that offer an extraordinary density of ideas, transmitted in shape-shifting and affecting prose.
May 6, 2017, 14:20 PM

Love and Other Questions

Deirdre Serjeantson
Francesco Petrarcha bequeathed to the Renaissance a particular way of writing about love. Shakespeare’s Romeo is just one of his disciples. But love was not the only string to Petrarch’s bow; he was also an archaeologist, classical scholar and respected moral philosopher. (This essay from the drb archive was originally published in April 2016.)
May 6, 2017, 13:27 PM

Telling Tales

Julia O’Mahony
Beryl Bainbridge tended to treat the truth around her own beginnings as no less malleable than her art, and though she may have sometimes served as an unreliable narrator within her prose for literary effect, she was equally untrustworthy in telling the tale of her own life.
Apr 5, 2017, 12:23 PM

The God in the I

Manus Charleton
The Estonian aristocrat Hermann Keyserling was recognised as a leading intellectual in Europe and America in the first half of the twentieth century. In 1911, aged thirty-one, he travelled around the world to develop his spirituality. The Travel Diary of a Philosopher was the result.
Apr 5, 2017, 11:59 AM

Magical Migrations

Giles Newington
Short but packed with ideas, Mohsin Hamid’s fourth novel shares with his previous work a compelling engagement with the present political moment. In its unambiguous faith in pluralism and tolerance, it is also a surprisingly optimistic message from a possible future.
Apr 5, 2017, 11:42 AM

The Evil That Men Do

Frank Armstrong
Dostoyevsky’s idea of collective responsibility for human error is as important now as it ever was, while his message of compassion for all life on Earth remains a challenge. He was also a visionary, who intuited the terrible cruelties that would soon reign ascendant in his country.
Mar 7, 2017, 10:18 AM