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

The Screen Went Blank

Tim Groenland
One of the consistent pleasures of Don DeLillo’s fiction is the sense of its author’s being attuned to frequencies of catastrophe that hum beneath the roar of the everyday: the toxic cloud on the horizon, the gunman in a lonely room, the ominous twitch in distant currency markets.
Nov 5, 2020, 19:51 PM
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Pushing against the Corset

Afric McGlinchey
The extent to which poets play on language varies enormously, but in Geraldine Clarkson’s debut, in which it might be said she uses wit as a palate cleanser, the reader is in for a feast of juxtaposition, unusual metaphor and conceit, highly charged lines and double entendres.
Nov 5, 2020, 19:45 PM
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Amis

Seigneur Moments

Kevin Power
Martin Amis’s work can be understood as a series of riffs on the base elements of male friendship: rivalry, companionship, sublimated desire. The bullshit quotient is in some ways an index of the bullshit quotient of male friendships, or maybe just the bullshit quotient of men.
Nov 5, 2020, 18:21 PM
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The Aptest Form

David O'Connor
Ranking writers is silly. Affinity, love, allure; consolation, seduction, desire; want – these are the words. Yet it cannot be resisted: no one writes a more alluring, more seductive sentence than Brian Dillon.
Nov 5, 2020, 11:38 AM
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Laughter from the Grave

Katrina Goldstone
In a media mire of tragedy porn and toothrotsweet sentimentality designed to blunt both our senses and our judgement, revisiting Jenny Diski’s essays, with their wonderful jokes and deftly contained anger, is both a pleasurable experience and a salutary exercise.
Nov 5, 2020, 11:32 AM
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This Is Not About Me

Kathleen Shields
Why do novelists write novels about novelists? Maylis Besserie presents the thoughts of an elderly gentleman from another generation, someone removed from her by era, gender and nationality, and thus asserts, in defiance of current orthodoxy, the independence of artistic creation.
Nov 5, 2020, 11:17 AM
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The Spirit of Cities

Leanne Ogasawara
Cities are smells: Cairo is mango and ginger, Beirut sun, sea, smoke and lemons. But in many of our cities the waters are rising. In Bangkok the water is inexorably reaching up and those familiar fragrances we have loved ‑ of noodles, tiger balm and teak – may soon be washed away.
Oct 7, 2020, 10:42 AM
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Do not laugh, do not dance

Rosita Sweetman
Large numbers of Moroccan women confided to Leila Slimani, on a book tour to promote her first novel, their ‘sexual suffering, frustration and alienation’. Their stories, with a blistering commentary from Slimani, make for a frightening but fascinating account of her country’s repressive culture.
Oct 7, 2020, 10:17 AM
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Il Miglior Fabbro

William Wall
Ezra Pound was a fascist and, even after the Holocaust, an unrepentant antisemite, yet he was also a brilliant poet, a great synthesiser of cultures and absolutely central to Modernism in English as an associate of Eliot and Yeats and a fierce champion of the young James Joyce.
Oct 7, 2020, 09:39 AM
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Getting it Straight

Sean Nam
After a crisis of faith in the early 1890s Paul Valéry abandoned poetry for some decades. He didn’t stop writing, however, getting up at dawn each day to work on his notebooks, 250 of them eventually, occupying 27,000 pages. This intellectual exercise he kept up for fifty years.
Oct 6, 2020, 19:39 PM
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All Together Now

John Toohey

Making a ‘national’ anthology of stories poses a problem: is there an essence that has to be captured? To be British in the 1920s was to believe that the national story had been progressive, from hut to glass tower, feudalism to universal suffrage, and that the future was a continuum.

Oct 6, 2020, 19:26 PM
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Where Late The Sweet Birds Sang

Enda O’Doherty
His indisputable genius ensured that William Shakespeare assumed the status of England’s chief literary emblem, in the same way that Cervantes was chosen to represent Spain, Dante Italy or Molière France. But why was it that he seemed so uninterested in writing about the place?
Sep 3, 2020, 16:07 PM
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My Life and Triumphs

Tom Hennigan
‘I am not so much a writer who has died, as a dead man who has decided to write,’ the narrator tells us at the opening of a Brazilian classic which owes something to Laurence Sterne’s ‘Shandy’, but with the added psychological depth attained in the 19th century French novel.
Sep 3, 2020, 14:33 PM
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Ordinary Romance

Brenna Katz Clarke
Anne Tyler’s twenty-third novel is her shortest to date, a concerto rather than a symphony, she has conceded. Her hero, brought up in a chaotic family, values order and routine and thinks social contact unimportant, but he discovers that it is more important than he thought.
Jul 3, 2020, 07:20 AM
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Colour Coding

Brian Cosgrove
In Cauvery Madhavan’s novel, May Twomey and her brother Gerry are the ‘Anglo-Indian’ descendants of an Irish soldier in the British army. A little like the Anglo-Irish – neither one thing nor the other – they feel somewhat outside society, once not white enough and now not brown enough.
Jul 2, 2020, 22:33 PM
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Death By Water

Ross Moore
As poet laureate of Amsterdam, Menno Wigman took part in a scheme to memorialise in verse those in the city who had died alone. It seems an apt scheme for a poet whose work is marked by a particularly humane and democratic sensibility.
Jul 2, 2020, 13:59 PM
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Narratives Real and Surreal

Tim Murphy
The poems in Miriam Gamble’s new collection show her to be a truly imaginative writer: in ‘Plume’, the creamy-white heads of meadowsweet are compared to the ‘creamy wigs’ of the 18th century, to ‘the shape of Scotland’, and to fat gathered in the top of old-school milk bottles.
Jul 2, 2020, 13:51 PM
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Silver Linings

Patricia Craig
Michele Roberts, the acclaimed author of twenty-five books, was rather put out when her new novel was rejected. For a year, she wrote a diary as an exercise in recuperation. The result is more joyous than jaundiced, something bright and exhilarating wrested from discomposure and dismay.
Jul 2, 2020, 13:18 PM
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The Unknown Eileen

Martin Tyrrell
Had Eileen O’Shaughnessy not taken up with George Orwell, she might have found success, if not fame, in her own right, possibly as an academic or a child psychologist. Her loss was to be his gain, something neither he nor most of his biographers have properly taken on board.
Jul 2, 2020, 13:14 PM
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The China in Us

Alena Dvořáková
Is ‘pragmatism’ toward China really a permission Europeans give themselves to revert to uses of power that are an inherent part of European history? Can the economic exploitation that produces clusters of infection in meat-processing plants and the suicides at Foxconn factories be linked?
Jul 2, 2020, 12:47 PM
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