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 115, October 2019

Issue 115, October 2019

Wounded Heart, Divided Soul

“He Honored Life” ‑ these were the words inscribed on Jack Kerouac’s tombstone after his death fifty years ago this month. Kerouac certainly “ate the peach” and his death from cirrhosis at the age of forty-seven was one of the twentieth century’s great literary tragedies.

Triumph of the Will

Benjamin Moser’s biography tells us vividly what it was like to know Susan Sontag: it was a tough gig. But it doesn’t tell us what it was like to be Susan Sontag ‑ perhaps an even tougher gig. Nor does it tell us much about her work.

The Real McCorley

Guy Beiner’s intellectual ambition puts him in a different league from most contemporary Irish historians. There have been other studies based on particular events, but Beiner’s account of the afterlife of the 1798 rebellion in Ulster is the only one likely to be read internationally by serious scholars of ‘memory’.

Why no one shouted stop

The temptation to attribute Ireland’s economic collapse after 2008 to greater moral or intellectual failings on the part of bankers, politicians and regulators than those exhibited by their counterparts elsewhere is to succumb to a vein of Irish exceptionalism that is not particularly helpful.

The Health of Nations

Political scientist Brendan O’Leary has written about Northern Ireland for thirty-five years, keeping abreast of every development and always pushing the politics of accommodation. His new three-volume treatise is a synthesis of everything he knows, whether from his own research or that of others.

History from Hell

The popular cultures of many European societies remain transfixed by the evil of Nazism while looking away from the record of their own ancestors. Yet the rise to global prominence of Portugal, Britain, Spain, France and the Netherlands rested largely on the horrific Caribbean slave trade.

All Boys Together

After uttering a choice remark, Dr Johnson would look around the room to check that his audience was sufficiently appreciative. He once woke up sweating from a dream where someone had bested him, but was soon relieved to find the contest had been between two versions of himself.

All About Helena

A memoir can ground the writer in external events or situations and provide an objective rationale to the narrative. The autobiography is a trickier proposition, placing the self at the centre. It is an act of whopping self-regard that demands a weighty justification.

A Roof Over Your Head

The supply of real estate is inherently fixed. Thus rising demand too often manifests in price inflation (increased price of housing) rather than increased supply. As a result, housing markets are plagued by problems of affordability, inadequate levels of supply and boom/bust cycles.

A Licence to Print Money

In the early nineteenth century, the East India Company, which was given a charter by Queen Elizabeth I in 1600, had a private army of 250,000 men, greater than that of European nation states. Its high officials made personal fortunes through exploitation, plunder, and bribery.