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 03, Autumn 2007

Issue 03, Autumn 2007

Cold Warrior

Stalin’s Wars: from World War to Cold War, 1939-1953, Yale University Press, 496 pp, £25, ISBN: 978-0300112041 With Stalin’s Wars, Geoffrey Roberts offers the reader a classic grand narrative of World War II (or, as the Russians know it, the Great Patriotic War) and the inception of the Cold War from a Soviet perspective. Based principally […]

Those Crazy Turks

Books referred to in this article: Su Cilgin Turkler, by Turgut Ozakman, Bilgi Yayinevi, Istanbul, November 2005 (231st print run) A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East, by David Fromkin, Henry Holt and Company, New York, 1989 The Well-Protected Domains: Ideology and […]

Small State, Big World

Late last year, as I was returning from a business trip to Warsaw, the LOT flight was full of young and not so young Poles. I was one of the few native Irish passengers. As the plane touched down, there was a spontaneous outburst of applause. Exiting from the baggage claim area, there were crowds […]

Too Much Too Soon

Windows on the World, by Frederic Beigbeder, Fourth Estate, 320 pp, £9.99, ISBN: 978-0007184699 Falling Man, by Don DeLillo, Picador, 256 pp, £16.99, ISBN: 978-0330452236 A Disorder Peculiar to the Country, by Ken Kalfus, Pocket Books, 256 pp, £7.99, ISBN: 978-1416522850 The Good Life, by Jay McInerney, Bloomsbury, 368 pp, £7.99, ISBN: 978-0747585817 The Emperor’s Children, […]

The Best Circles

Cycling in Victorian Ireland, by Brian Griffin, Nonsuch Publishing, 220 pp, €17.99, ISBN: 978-1845885625 A popular way of condemning something as hopelessly outmoded or irrelevant is to describe it as Victorian. Yet contemporary Dubliners are invited to gasp at that latest technological marvel the tram, while another late Victorian innovation in transport, the underground railway, […]

To Aran or Isfahan

Nomad’s Hotel: Travels in Time and Space, by Cees Nooteboom, Vintage Books, 240 pp, £7.99, ISBN 978-0099453789 It may be something of a miracle that the Dutch travel writer and novelist Cees Nooteboom has come to understand himself as a nomad. Many years ago, he claims, he presented himself to the abbot of a monastery […]

A Queer Sort

Boy, by James Hanley (preface by Anthony Burgess, notes and appendix by Chris Gostick), Oneworld Classics, 300 pp, £7.99, ISBN: 978-1847490063 There have, of course, been a great many authors hailed as geniuses and then consigned either after death or, just as likely, after that difficult second novel to the dusty archives of canonical anonymity. […]

Praise for the Microphone

There are moments in our lives when we learn about something new, moments that give us a glow of satisfaction and wonder, the tickle of surprise. This new thing could be what we perceive to be our personal discovery of a painting on a cave wall, as if it hadn’t been there all along, or […]

Destroyed by Art

A Lover of Unreason: The Life and Tragic Death of Assia Wevill, by Yehuda Koren and Eilat Negev, Robson Books, 320 pp, ISBN: 978-186105974 In Fay Weldon’s short story “In the Great War (II)”, the protagonist, Ellen, kills herself and her daughter after being blamed by her lover for his wife’s suicide. But the unnamed narrator […]

The King of Lost Causes

Michael Foot: A Life, by Kenneth O Morgan, Harper Collins, 512 pp, £25, ISBN: 978-007178261 Kenneth O Morgan has written extensively on twentieth century British history, mainly on Labour and on Wales. The Welsh connection is relevant because Foot, though Morgan stresses his credentials as part of a distinctly English tradition, was Aneurin Bevan’s successor in […]