"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 

The Real McCorley

Ian McBride
Guy Beiner’s intellectual ambition puts him in a different league from most contemporary Irish historians. There have been other studies based on particular events, but Beiner’s account of the afterlife of the 1798 rebellion in Ulster is the only one likely to be read internationally by serious scholars of ‘memory’.
Oct 2, 2019, 14:28 PM

Triumph of the Will

Kevin Power
Benjamin Moser’s biography tells us vividly what it was like to know Susan Sontag: it was a tough gig. But it doesn’t tell us what it was like to be Susan Sontag ‑ perhaps an even tougher gig. Nor does it tell us much about her work.
Oct 2, 2019, 14:22 PM

Wounded Heart, Divided Soul

Tim Murphy
“He Honored Life” ‑ these were the words inscribed on Jack Kerouac’s tombstone after his death fifty years ago this month. Kerouac certainly “ate the peach” and his death from cirrhosis at the age of forty-seven was one of the twentieth century’s great literary tragedies.
Oct 2, 2019, 13:57 PM

All About Helena

Emmet O’Connor

A memoir can ground the writer in external events or situations and provide an objective rationale to the narrative. The autobiography is a trickier proposition, placing the self at the centre. It is an act of whopping self-regard that demands a weighty justification.

Oct 2, 2019, 13:31 PM

All Boys Together

James Ward
After uttering a choice remark, Dr Johnson would look around the room to check that his audience was sufficiently appreciative. He once woke up sweating from a dream where someone had bested him, but was soon relieved to find the contest had been between two versions of himself.
Oct 2, 2019, 13:18 PM

History from Hell

Tom Hennigan
The popular cultures of many European societies remain transfixed by the evil of Nazism while looking away from the record of their own ancestors. Yet the rise to global prominence of Portugal, Britain, Spain, France and the Netherlands rested largely on the horrific Caribbean slave trade.
Oct 2, 2019, 13:11 PM

The Health of Nations

John A Hall
Political scientist Brendan O’Leary has written about Northern Ireland for thirty-five years, keeping abreast of every development and always pushing the politics of accommodation. His new three-volume treatise is a synthesis of everything he knows, whether from his own research or that of others.
Oct 2, 2019, 12:14 PM

Why no one shouted stop

Rory O’Donnell
The temptation to attribute Ireland’s economic collapse after 2008 to greater moral or intellectual failings on the part of bankers, politicians and regulators than those exhibited by their counterparts elsewhere is to succumb to a vein of Irish exceptionalism that is not particularly helpful.
Oct 2, 2019, 11:57 AM

Lost Worlds

Maria Johnston
It is Stephen Sexton’s great gift to be able to inhabit the ambivalences of both language and life and to somehow, through sensitivity, invention and tact, transform not only his own experience into art but transform a platform video-game into a thing of revelatory beauty.
Oct 1, 2019, 22:53 PM

In Tune

Gerard Smyth
Many of Moya Cannon’s poems relate to music and song. But more than that, when these, as they so often do, become the subject, the relationship between poet and her material deepens and the content lights up with increased wattage.
Oct 1, 2019, 22:48 PM

The Odd Couple

Catherine Kelly
Emma Donoghue’s tenth novel is concerned with the relationship between an elderly man and his eleven-year-old grandnephew, who is entrusted to him after his mother is imprisoned for drug abuse. While the narrative deals with some of the darker aspects of life, this is not a dark book.
Oct 1, 2019, 22:42 PM

What are we going to do?

John Fanning
Most people born today can expect to become centenarians, but the structuring of education and work are still built around outdated models. These are now under attack from two sides: the reality that retirement could last 40 years and the threat to jobs from automation, AI and robots.
Oct 1, 2019, 22:37 PM

Telling Tales

Dawn Miranda Sherratt-Bado
Zadie Smith has said that she is not by nature a political person, her business as a writer rather being ‘the intimate lives of people’. Nevertheless, she concurs with Orwell that all writing is political and has been particularly concerned to explore the politics of identity.
Oct 1, 2019, 22:31 PM

History from the Top

Barra Ó Seaghdha
An account of Irish history whose gaze is fixed on intellectual or elite culture and does not engage with whole areas of the existence of the inhabitants of the island, particularly those who found themselves on the sharp end of colonisation, must necessarily be an incomplete one.
Oct 1, 2019, 18:57 PM

Freed White Dove

Enda Wyley
Catherine Phil MacCarthy’s new collection is preoccupied with the many tensions of French and Irish cultural and political history from the late nineteenth century through to contemporary times, tensions which are deftly revealed through personal stories of the many inhabitants of this book.
Oct 1, 2019, 18:16 PM

Many Rooms, Many Doors

Hugh O’Donnell
In poem after poem we recognise Jean O’Brien’s signature style, her unique perspective as myth-maker who takes what is real and gives it back to us in all its mysterious particularity, whether a health check or a sea ride from Holyhead to Dún Laoghaire, her daughter’s tattoo or a swing in autumn.
Oct 1, 2019, 18:09 PM

Divided We Stand

Cecilia Biaggi
Initially, unionists and nationalists equally opposed partition, which was first proposed by British politicians in 1912 as a short-term expedient to overcome deadlock. In this context, the creation of two parliaments in Ireland served to delegate responsibility for unification to the Irish.
Oct 1, 2019, 17:53 PM

In her Element

Kerri Ní Dochartaigh
In Kathleen Jamie’s new collection, the prose is matter-of-fact as well as lyrical – we come away full of a sense of things having been placed in order, dissected, rattled enough to ensure they fall back into place in a way that makes them catch the light that little bit more.
Oct 1, 2019, 17:48 PM

In her Element

Kerri Ní Dochartaigh
In Kathleen Jamie’s new collection, the prose is matter-of-fact as well as lyrical – we come away full of a sense of things having been placed in order, dissected, rattled enough to ensure they fall back into place in a way that makes them catch the light that little bit more.
Oct 1, 2019, 17:48 PM

Look at Me

Michael Hinds
The sonnet emerged in the Renaissance just as the concept of an explorable and variable self became culturally pervasive. Like a multi-barred cage within which the heart, mind and body paces like a bear, the form allowed sophisticated selves to show themselves to be sophisticated.
Oct 1, 2019, 16:18 PM