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 124, July 2020

Issue 124, July 2020

Great Upheavals, Small Triumphs

In “The Changing Mountain”, his recent essay on the mutable parameters of elegy (Poetry London Issue 96) Stephen Sexton notes “the imperceptible change a photograph, say, undergoes when someone depicted in it has died; how these images seem, somehow, utterly changed without having changed at all”.

A World of Tears

A man finds himself in Antwerp with nothing to do. Then he remembers, among other things, that this is the town where the painter Peter Paul Rubens made his home. At first, this annoys him, because he has no interest whatsoever in the painter. But then he thinks, why not write a book about Rubens.

A Sharp Eye in the Wild

Diary of a Young Naturalist, by Dara McAnulty, Little Toller Books, 224 pp, £16, ISBN: 978-1908213792 Dara McAnulty first came to public notice about three years ago as a blogger writing about nature and conservation from his home in Fermanagh; at the time he was particularly keen on protecting hen harriers, a species of special […]

The European Way

My brother Diarmuid told me that some years ago when visiting the Church of San Pietro in Montorio in Rome his “Sono irlandese” to a church official elicited the reply of “O’Neill?”. Diarmuid nodded and that was enough ‑ he was immediately brought to the tomb of the great Hugh O’Neill. O’Neill has had a […]

Not Gone Away

While many commentators would argue that Sinn Féin should be awarded the prize for actually advancing traditional republican objectives over recent decades, the ‘purists’ or ‘dissidents’ who call them traitors are still with us. And will be for some time to come, a new study argues.

Into the West

From Killary to Barna, Salthill to Inisbofin, a collection of twenty short stories gathered from Galway city and county evokes the unique spirit, atmosphere and salty tang of the western city and county perched on the windswept edge of the Atlantic.

Ordinary Romance

Anne Tyler’s twenty-third novel is her shortest to date, a concerto rather than a symphony, she has conceded. Her hero, brought up in a chaotic family, values order and routine and thinks social contact unimportant, but he discovers that it is more important than he thought.

Succeeding in Solitude

In 2014, the French writer Sylvain Tesson fell some ten metres while trying to scale the side of a friend’s home. The accident not only left him with lasting physical ailments; it also transformed him from enthusiastic global tourist to philosopher and aesthete of solitude.

Roads Both Taken

Novelist William Gibson likes to throw you into the narrative and semiotic deep end of two worlds in which history has bifurcated. Learning to navigate involves slow reading and getting your head around new concepts and associated lexicons, but it is worth the effort.

The Political Anatomy of a Crime

Every conflict in Latin America is, at the heart of it, about land. Land tenure is vital in a region where such a large portion of the population is comprised of small farmers. Without much of a social safety net, land ownership is often the only security against starvation.