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.

Home Issue 02, Summer 2007

Issue 02, Summer 2007

Reason and Passion

The Supreme Court: The Personalities and Rivalries that Defined America, by Jeffrey Rosen, Times Books, 288 pp, $25, ISBN: 978-0805081824 The hands turn red, then white, and the cords of the neck stand out like steel bands. The prisoner’s limbs, fingers, toes, and face are severely contorted. The force of the electrical current is so […]

That Sweet Ironic Smile

The Curtain, by Milan Kundera, translated from the French by Linda Asher, Faber and Faber, 256 pp, £12.99, ISBN: 978-0571232819 From the accomplished past to the striving present, from the epic to the experimental, from the romantic to the realist, a network of threads runs through the history of literature, connecting disparate creations. In the […]

Rubbing Along

The Luck Penny, by John Maher, Brandon, 294 pp, €14.99, ISBN: 978-0863223617 On a visit to her sister in London in 1849, Liza Drew, wife of the Rev John Drew, a minister in the small parish of Aghadoe in the Irish Midlands, bumps into her husband’s friend and fellow student of ancient scripts, Mr Westmacott. […]

Brave New Words

Dreuchd an Fhigheadair/The Weaver’s Task: a Gaelic Sampler, edited and introduced by Crìsdean MhicGhillebhàin/Christopher Whyte, Scottish Poetry Library, 64 pp, £5.00, ISBN: 978-0953223589 out here in front of a tiny audience of halfhearted seals applauding It is almost obligatory when talking about Scots Gaelic to begin with a number. In 2001 it was 58,652. Writing […]

Citizens of the Republic, Jewish History in Ireland

In the turbulent early years of the Irish Free State, 1922-23, two people who had been listed in the 1911 census as neighbours on Dublin’s Lennox Street met violent deaths at the hands of Free State army officers, one a Catholic and the other a Jew, one a civil servant and the other a tailor. Confounding the stereotypes, it was the Irish republican leader Harry Boland who was both a Catholic and a tailor, while the Jewish victim – Ernest Kahan – was a civil servant in Ireland’s Department of Agriculture.

Just Like That

The End of the Poem: Oxford Lectures in Poetry, by Paul Muldoon, Faber and Faber, 432 pp, £25, ISBN: 978 0571227402 Horse Latitudes, by Paul Muldoon, Faber and Faber, 80 pp, £14.99, ISBN: 978-0571232345 Few poets are happy to be described as mere emanations of their region of origin. It has been convenient for journalists […]

The Child That I Am

As Pequenas Memórias, by José Saramago, Caminho, 149 pp, €9.45, ISBN: 972-2118315 The Nobel literature prizewinner José Saramago was born in 1922 in Portugal’s Ribatejo province. Best known in the English-speaking world for his novels from the 1980s and 1990s Baltasar and Blimunda, The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis, The Stone Raft, The History of the […]

Mapping the Conquest

Map-Making, Landscapes and Memory: A Geography of Colonial and Early Modern Ireland c. 1530-1750, by William J Smyth, Cork University Press, 640 pp, €69, ISBN: 978-0268017811 I first encountered Professor Smyth’s work in a 1988 volume called Common Ground in which he presented a 1659 “census” or countrywide poll tax listing of names in maps, illuminated by a […]

Bridges From The Past

The Fire: The Bombing of Germany 1940-1945, by Jörg Friedrich, Columbia University Press, 532 pp, £49, ISBN: 978-0231133807 Firestorm: The Bombing of Dresden 1945, (eds) Paul Addison and Jeremy A Crang, Pimlico, 260 pp, £8.99, ISBN: 978184413928x On Christmas Day in the year 800, in a ceremony conducted by the Pope, the German king Charlemagne […]