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 112, June 2019

Issue 112, June 2019

Marriage and the Irish, Salvador Ryan (ed)

This fascinating miscellany comprises seventy-nine short pieces on marriage practices in Ireland over approximately 1,300 years. During this period the institution of marriage was organised around property, status, succession and, in the case of the elite, politics.

The Unstoppable Irish, by Dan Milner

The Irish in New York faced much of the same hostility from a Protestant establishment that wished to exclude them as they did at home. But eventually they came to belong, based on their service in the US army their role in maintaining law and order, their political skills, and, not least, their sheer numbers.

Rogue States, by Fred Johnston

In Fred Johnston’s new collection the subject is the experience of cancer or suspected cancer. The prevailing mood is one of grim fatalism; there is no belief in the medical world doing good. This is a world without Ms Nightingales.

Made to Measure?

Data-gathering and metrics have come to rule modern medicine, with the results of the former often being sold on to the ‘medical-industrial complex’. Meanwhile real doctoring, like life, is messy and uncertain. And surely humans are about something more than their value as data and a desire to live as long as possible?

What’s That Racket?

A Croatian dog writes about the loud love-making that is repeatedly heard in his apartment block at night, ‘the little acoustic scandal that has been rocking our neighbourhood’. But really he wants to talk about love and loyalty. No creature feels rejection more than a dog.

Followed by Silence

Seán Hewitt’s work takes the natural world and unearths it from the places in which we so keenly try to entomb it. He brings us that little bit closer to ourselves, the deeper into the work we go; in doing so we are more in the world than when we entered.

When All This is Over

Jane Clarke has written a sequence of poems exploring the First World War, using letters and photographs drawn from the Auerbach family archive. She has produced a book of great concentration and intelligence, which captures the life of a young soldier and his sister and asks fundamental questions about empathy.

Urban Myths

There are – at least – two sides to everything. Jan Carson’s new novel skilfully blends magic realism, absurdism and surrealism to explore the complexities of Northern Ireland’s ‘post-conflict’ society, and how this hyphenated existence holds the past and present in dangerous tension.

Taking Liberties

Ciaran Carson’s work has developed from the well-crafted poetry of his first collection to the digressive, long-lined collection The Irish For No. His explorations of liberty in The Twelfth of Never took their own liberties with temporal, conceptual and even grammatical sense.

Prologue to Forgetting

The willingness to dream, to give herself over to a flood of memories is ultimately what distinguishes the inevitably innocent memoir of Nora O’Connor, who left Ireland in 1907, from Ian Maleney’s masterfully doubtful essays. For at the base of Maleney’s anxiety is a mistrust of memory.