I am so at home in Dublin, more than any other city, that I feel it has always been familiar to me. It took me years to see through its soft charm to its bitter prickly kernel - which I quite like too.

europe

The Professional

An unequal combat between a divided, shambolic Britain and a united Europe
Immediately after the British referendum the EU quickly defined its core principles and objectives. The French former commissioner and minister Michel Barnier was put in charge of negotiations with the British, a job that required a great deal of focus, command of detail, stamina and patience. What ensued was a tale of British disorganisation, misunderstanding, division and delusion, consistently crashing up against the impregnable defences erected by the EU and manned by Barnier.

Fiction

Normal Girls

Eva Kenny
‘The Rooney Effect’: taking the affective temperature of the patriarchy The protagonists of these novels don’t quite understand why they feel so outsidery and alone. But their authors do. If only one book about a miserable, downtrodden Irish girl came out, we could think of it as an individual phenomenon. When all the books being reviewed, praised as literary fiction, translated and reprinted within the space of a few years register the same experiences, their critical mass forces us to imagine their authors articulating the outline of something structural, poking into its deepest corners and pockets.

Dublin Review of Books

Sweating the Asset

Sean Byrne
The rise of private monopolies in the wake of the Thatcher ‘revolution’

The Road to Justice

Ursula Quill
The long fight for recognition of the Magdalene laundries survivors

Longing for Flight

Iggy McGovern
Time on our hands: the locked-down poet raids memories of past travel

How much is enough?

Amanda Bell
Is a chapbook more likely to work as an organic whole than a full collection?

In That Dawn

Gerard Smyth
The carefree days before Belfast became the capital of the Troubles

Vibrating Still

Maria Johnston
A poem where language is put behind bars and called upon to account for itself

Skydiving

Fióna Bolger
A poetic auto-fiction on migration, trauma and shifting identities

Losing the Plot

Brian Davey
A book telling the story of a book that cannot be written – which is written

City Breakdown

Susan McKeever
Six days in Hamburg – a ‘weekend break’ and family reunion with a difference

emigrants

Urban Shock

John McAuliffe
A moving meditation on a working class past from a London-Irish historian

French Fiction

Mindful Fictions

Luke Warde
The relentless self-questioning of Emmanuel Carrère’s nonfictions

Irish History

Going Georgian

Patrick Duffy
Urban transformation and sectarian division in 18th century Ireland

revolutionaries

The Pathfinder

Tom Hennigan
The megalomania of the leader of Peru’s genocidal Maoist revolutionaries

music

Restless Angel

John Mulqueen
The greatest songwriter in the Irish tradition in the history of recording

Fiction

Normal Girls

Eva Kenny
‘The Rooney Effect’: taking the affective temperature of the patriarchy

europe

The Professional

Rory Montgomery
An unequal combat between a divided, shambolic Britain and a united Europe

music

Restless Angel

John Mulqueen
The greatest songwriter in the Irish tradition in the history of recording James Fearnley first met Shane MacGowan at the start of the 1980s. Their pub crawls involved only brief stays in each pub, drinks abandoned as MacGowan quickly led the way on to the next. Conversations in his flat went on for hours, with MacGowan doing most of the talking, on subjects as various as the hunger strikes, the American hostages in Iran, Joyce’s ‘Finnegans Wake’ and the buxomness of the women depicted on cans of Tennent’s lager.

revolutionaries

The Pathfinder

The megalomania of the leader of Peru’s genocidal Maoist revolutionaries
As chief theoretician of Peru’s Shining Path guerrillas, Abimael Guzmán spurned calls from his military commanders to join them in the field, preferring to stay, reading and studying, in safe houses with dedicated women followers. Uniquely in Latin America, Shining Path was responsible for far more deaths than its counter-insurgency opponents in a conflict that cost 69,000 lives out of a population of just 17 million.

Irish History

Going Georgian

Urban transformation and sectarian division in 18th century Ireland
From the 1720s and ’30s the Catholic population rose steadily in all Irish towns except Derry and Belfast. Rural poverty led to migration into towns, especially during recurring crises, as in the 1720s and 1740s. During the Great Frost of 1740-’41 great numbers of people flocked into Dublin and the larger towns to beg and to seek shelter.

French Fiction

Mindful Fictions

The relentless self-questioning of Emmanuel Carrère’s nonfictions
In a magazine profile of him in 2017, Emmanuel Carrère articulated a distinction between what it is to be good and what it is to be moral, claiming he was the latter but certainly not the former. ‘I am not very good. I am, however, very moral,’ he observes, ‘which is to say I know where goodness is, and badness.’

FROM PREVIOUS ISSUES

Sons and Mothers

Ann Kennedy Smith
Writers and their mothers: Samuel Beckett and Philip Larkin

A Modern Utopian

Bryan Fanning
Dominic Cummings’s big idea: leave the thinking to the scientists

A Necessary Correction

Frank Callanan
Arthur Griffith: the most misunderstood major figure in modern Irish history

Buying Consent

Ivana Bacik
The problem with ‘sex work’ is that it misunderstands prostitution

emigrants

Urban Shock

A moving meditation on a working class past from a London-Irish historian
Patrick Joyce looks back at another life and there is much that he records that is valuable and affecting. Born in London to Irish parents, he tracks his own life and the development of 21st-century cities and asks, with Benjamin, if there is not an echo of those who have been silenced in the voices to which we lend our ears today?

Blogs et cetera

BLOG

When Johnny Goes Marching

When Johnny Goes Marching Maurice Earls writes: As some may recall, a few years ago genetic studies emerged which revealed that in excess of twenty per cent of males in the northwest of Ireland are descendants of one individual (possibly Niall of the Nine Hostages) or, perhaps more likely, of a few closely related males who were founders, around the year 500, of the very successful Ui Neill Ulster dynasty. Some might wonder what happened the men who would have gone on to father children had the Ui Neill clan not taken over. It is probably safe to assume that they... In 1944, Sean O’Faolain, writing in ‘The Bell’, expressed puzzlement as to why Ireland faced such severe criticism over its wartime policy of neutrality when Switzerland, Sweden or Spain did not. The explanation for him was that Irish neutrality was not accepted because Irish independence was not really accepted. As a Cockney had put it to him in a London pub, ‘we always look to you as one of us’.

blog

Man is a Giddy Thing

Enda O’Doherty writes: “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future,” the celebrated American baseball catcher Yogi Berra is reported to have said. And yet we go on making them, even in a field as volatile as electoral politics in its current phase seems to be. We have of course every right by now to be fed up with people reminding us that “no one” predicted the success of Trump or the result of the Brexit referendum, particularly when their interest in citing such largely unexpected results seems to be a veiled threat that more “unlikely” – and...
There are certain distortions attendant on the business of opinion polling, for you can tell a pollster anything you like: your words have no cost attached. Perhaps it is because many people see the exercise as principally an opportunity for self-expression that the results of recent polling often record such mad leaps and plunges.