"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 

Mother of Invention

Maura O’Kiely
Aunt Betty wasn’t who she said she was. Also known as Eileen and Patricia, she liked to be called Munca, after Beatrix Potter’s pet mouse. Getting on in life ‑ moving on, moving up ‑ was her compulsion, and any lie, any hurt to her family, could be justified along the way.
Jan 7, 2021, 17:07 PM

Cauldron Bubble

Leanne Ogasawara
Fermentation is a familiar process in food preparation but has also long been used as a metaphor for societal change, cultural change, political change, economic change. Driven by bacteria, it is a force that cannot be stopped. It recycles life, renews hope, and goes on and on.
Jan 7, 2021, 17:03 PM

Landscapes of Violence

Rita Sakr
Hassan Blasim’s fictional work has shown extraordinary literary vision and innovation, leaving the reader stunned by the formidable method in the seeming madness of his narrative techniques, which drive realism and surrealism into a wildly intimate encounter.
Jan 7, 2021, 16:58 PM

An End to Growth

Tom Lordan
The catalyst for the growth of the world economy, manufacturing, which sparked into life in the nineteenth century and generated vast amounts of wealth, has finally exhausted itself, a new book argues. But will the end of growth also necessarily imply the end of work?
Jan 7, 2021, 16:43 PM

From Drift to Decadence

John Fanning
It has plausibly been suggested that we now have the capability to transform the five fundamentals of the global economy ‑ information, energy, transport, fuel and materials ‑ into sustainable production at minimal costs compared to the present. The problem is that we lack the will.
Jan 7, 2021, 16:39 PM

Knocking at the Door

Rory Montgomery
The early 1960s saw Ireland engaging in a concentrated round of diplomatic activity focused on a hoped-for entry to the European Economic Community. When the French veto of the UK application in 1963 also derailed the Irish one, attention turned to a free trade agreement with Britain.
Jan 7, 2021, 15:00 PM

The Cat Laughs

Kevin Power
Philosophers, John Gray argues, imagine that life can be ordered by reason and principle, an absurd notion a cat would never subscribe to. Gray sees our lives as random events and our natures as determined by the body. But foolishly we find it difficult to accept that we are mere creatures of biology and chance.
Jan 7, 2021, 14:46 PM

Velvet Resolution

Alena Dvořáková
Hermione Lee’s authorised biography of Tom Stoppard gives us, between the lines, the sense of a man who, while charming, could be driven and sometimes emotionally distant. He also seems to have been remarkably keen to live what he saw as the traditional life of the English gentleman.
Jan 7, 2021, 14:27 PM

The Necessary Other

Enda O’Doherty
Categorising groups of people as ‘Other’ is a practice that seems to be frowned upon in the best intellectual circles. But there are markers apart from ethnicity, nationality and religion. Why shouldn’t we regard those who strongly oppose our values as fundamentally different?
Jan 7, 2021, 13:59 PM

Not a Gentleman

Tadhg Foley
The Buddhist monk known as U Dhammaloka was a powerful leader of Burmese nationalism, venerated to the point of adulation by thousands of supporters. In his origins he was a working class Dubliner, who one source said ‘could charm the heart of an old wheelbarrow’.
Jan 7, 2021, 13:52 PM

Royal Rebel

Lillis Ó Laoire
Seosamh Mac Grianna’s best-known work, newly translated as ‘This Road of Mine’, is more novel than autobiography and is also an exploration of the relationship between art and artist. Unusually, for a work written in the 1930s in Irish, it is set in Dublin, London, Liverpool and Cardiff.
Jan 7, 2021, 13:38 PM

The C Word

Paul O’Mahoney
American business has been striking a newly pious note, emphasising its duties towards customers, employees, suppliers, communities. Unsurprisingly, there is nothing about the state, or a corporation’s obligation to pay taxes that can be used for the benefit of citizens.
Jan 7, 2021, 13:33 PM

The Mirrors That We Drape

Deirdre Hines
If the purpose of satire is to change the world, or at least to change the ways in which we think about it, do poets like Kevin Higgins do more than elicit complacent smiles from those who already agree with them? The strong responses that his poems evoke suggest otherwise.
Jan 7, 2021, 13:21 PM

The War on Words

David Blake Knox
Spoken Chinese is a tonal language quite unlike English – with four possible tones to each sound and a fifth atonal sound that can turn a sentence into a question. The chief problems that translators of ‘Ulysses’ have faced in mainland China are not, however, issues of language but of politics.
Jan 7, 2021, 13:04 PM

Who invented Ireland?

Catherine Marshall
A study of the promotion of Ireland through art in the United States provides, thanks to its author’s formidable research, a tapestry of who is who, and where and how they lived and dined, between Dublin, Chicago and New York, with occasional forays to London, Paris, Boston and even New Orleans.
Jan 7, 2021, 12:53 PM

Compelling the Heart to Care

Dick Edelstein
A new Spanish-Irish film documentary manages to profit handsomely from the practical advice of film genius André Bazin, founder of the influential ‘Cahiers du Cinéma’, while rejecting his ideology. Not a shabby accomplishment for a crew of artists starting out in their careers.
Jan 7, 2021, 12:37 PM