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

History in a Shoebox

Katrina Goldstone
The fashion writer Hadley Freeman came upon a shoebox when rummaging through her grandmother’s wardrobe. The past it hinted of led her on a hunt through the archives that eventually uncovered the tragic and inspiring history of her Jewish family’s experiences in wartime France.
Jun 2, 2020, 18:44 PM

Didn’t They Do Well?

Andy Pollak
Irish settlers in Argentina saw no contradiction between leaving a country wracked by land conflict and occupying land in the one to which they’d moved from which the native people had been expelled. For they were a civilised people and the dispossessed were savages.
Jun 2, 2020, 18:38 PM

Ireland Out of England?

John Wilson Foster
It has been suggested that a second New Ireland Forum should be convened to help dispel unionist fears of the inevitable united Ireland. Perhaps we should instead explore the intimate mutual relations between Ireland and Britain, something of a sore point, it seems, for many Irish.
Jun 2, 2020, 18:33 PM

Nuremberg Calling?

Shane Darcy
William Joyce, ‘Lord Haw-Haw’, was tried in connection with his propaganda broadcasts from Nazi Germany. Treason was the charge since he was a British subject, having obtained a passport by deception. Had he been tried at Nuremberg with other Nazis he might not have hanged.
Jun 2, 2020, 12:33 PM


Sean Byrne
Bundesbank president Wilhelm Vocke retired, laden with honours, in 1957 and was replaced by Karl Blessing. Both men had cheerfully served the Nazi regime. They could be rehabilitated because they fell out with the Nazis on monetary policy, though not, it seems, on any other matter.
Jun 2, 2020, 12:04 PM

Get Happy

Michael Byrne
In a winner-takes-all society there will always be more losers, and the chance of becoming one of them is greater, breeding, in many people, anxiety, poor health, even addiction. What if economics were to treat human beings as something more than soulless choice-machines?
Jun 2, 2020, 12:01 PM

The Dying of the Light

Maura O’Kiely
After months of being diminished, pared away piece by piece, the young French woman in the hospice is brought into the garden, where she is replenished by nothing more technical than honeysuckle, bees and a blue vault of sky. She is growing while dying, before her doctor’s eyes.
Jun 1, 2020, 15:42 PM

From Little Marseille

Afric McGlinchey
A generation of poets in Cork in the 1970s came under the charismatic influence of John Montague. Although he had the holy status of an ‘Ulster poet’ he was to direct his students’ attention towards American, British and European models rather than the domestic product.
Jun 1, 2020, 15:30 PM

For the Desert Air

Thomas McCarthy
Was Ethna MacCarthy intimidated by brilliant male friends? Or was she, as an haut bourgeois Catholic, simply too well brought-up to follow her own literary ambition in this rollicking tide of masculinities? The posthumous publication of her verse shows how much we have been missing.
Jun 1, 2020, 15:21 PM

Rue For You

Amanda Bell
Maggie O’Farrell’s new novel historical novel is set in Shakespeare’s England, in a time of plague, a time when the playwright himself suffered bereavement with the death of his son Hamnet. The novel interprets the tragedy ‘Hamlet’, written a few years later, as a study in loss.
Jun 1, 2020, 15:13 PM

Holding the Fort

Gerard Horn
The fact that Trinity College, in central Dublin, was not taken by the insurgents in Easter 1916 can largely be credited to the defensive actions of colonial soldiers, including New Zealanders. The Rising, and the war that followed, put the New Zealand Irish in an invidious position.
Jun 1, 2020, 14:59 PM

Crossing Borders, Crossing Genders

Benjamin Keatinge
Pajtim Statovci’s second novel is a book in which civilisation itself is under threat and in many respects the heart of Tirana is a heart of darkness; the Albanian capital, a city that nowadays is a pleasure to visit, was, in the 1990s, a dangerous, degraded and desperate place.
Jun 1, 2020, 13:30 PM

Nobody will see us

Neil Hegarty
Out of bleak contexts and grey ingredients, Conor O’Callaghan creates a spare, emotionally fraught story of home, homelessness and unsettlement. Yet there is no absence of emotion: the approach is to strip away the fat – to permit a wide view, while withholding much by way of detail.
Apr 30, 2020, 21:28 PM

A Plump Pillow

Leanne Ogasawara
Japanese poets have traditionally taken pilgrimages to locations of great scenic allure, seeking out wondrous places that are so inviting, so lovely, that poems wish to settle in them. A German professor wakes from a disturbing dream and journeys to such a site. Why? He has no idea.
Apr 30, 2020, 21:22 PM

Time and the Woman

Declan O’Driscoll
Eimear Mc Bride’s new novel presents us with a woman, or maybe a series of women, at various stages of life, presented within the confines of a hotel room, but on each occasion in a different city. There is a twist at the end. But it’s not a plot twist, because there is no plot.
Apr 30, 2020, 21:17 PM

Found Again

Enda Coyle-Greene
Towards the close of Gerard Smyth’s quietly impressive collection, a sequence of elegies acts as both an act of creative solidarity and a defiant rebuttal of creativity’s all-too-inevitable cessation. The poems, rather like memory itself, call out to and answer each other.
Apr 30, 2020, 21:13 PM

The Joys of Fieldwork

Ailbhe Nic Giolla Chomhaill
The eloquence and elegance which often emerge from folklore archives is a thread which connects each of the essays in a new collection in honour of Ríonach uí Ógáin. Each of the authors gives his/her own insight into the ‘doing’ of fieldwork, which can be both a vocation and an addiction.
Apr 30, 2020, 21:07 PM

Time Fallen Away

Marie Rooney
Hilary Fannin’s beautifully written debut novel follows the lives of Ruth and Robin from London in 1995 to Dublin in 2018. An air of sadness pervades the novel – perhaps a sense of wasted time, of lack of fulfilment. In the end their relationship comes full circle. Or does it?
Apr 30, 2020, 21:03 PM

Remembering Lyra

Dawn Miranda Sherratt-Bado

‘We were the Good Friday Agreement generation,’ wrote the journalist Lyra McKee, shot dead by the New IRA while working  in Derry a year ago, ‘destined to never witness the horrors of war but to reap the spoils of peace. The spoils just never seemed to reach us.’

Apr 30, 2020, 21:01 PM

Ourselves Alone

Frank Callanan
As the scale of Labour’s defeat became clear, a succession of Corbynists emerged to insist that the voters’ rejection of their policies was not a rejection at all and that nothing need change: a strange product of a new ‘leftism’ that exists not to seek power but largely for its own sake.
Apr 30, 2020, 19:15 PM