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 154, Spring 2024

Issue 154, Spring 2024

The Trump Enigma

Here we go again. For the third consecutive presidential election, US voters are likely to face a choice between a moderate career politician and an angry demagogue for whom lying and gaslighting are not just nasty political tactics but governing principles and reflexive personal traits. The result, the polls tell us, could go either way. […]

Orwell: The Rewrite

Wifedom: Mrs Orwell’s Invisible Life, by Anna Funder, Viking, 464 pp, £10, ISBN: 978-0241482728 Eileen O’Shaughnessy married George Orwell in 1936 and remained married to him until her unexpected and untimely death in 1945. Anna Funder’s Wifedom is primarily an analysis of that nine-year marriage, which Funder concludes as having been throughout to Eileen’s disadvantage, […]

Beyond Revisionism

In a recent interview with The Irish Times, Roy Foster volunteered a striking comment: ‘The whole revisionism thing,’ he asserted, ‘is over.’ The remark is notable because, perhaps more than any other Irish historian of his generation, Foster built his reputation on a commitment to revisionism. Now that the outlook is avowedly a thing of […]

The Third Man

The Material for Victory: The Memoirs of Andrew J. Kettle, Laurence J Kettle (ed), introduction and additional biographical note by Niamh Reilly and annotations by Niamh Reilly and Jane O’Brien, The Open Press at the University of Galway, 300 pp, €20, ISBN: 978-1911690146 (paperback), 978-1911690153 (ebook) Andrew J Kettle (1833 – 1916) can lay just […]

Heaven Can Wait

The Good Enough Life, by Daniel Miller, Polity, 280 pp, £17.99, ISBN: 978-1509559657 The world is full of war, fear, anger and hatred. One of the big questions for moral philosophers and anyone else interested in living a good life is why human beings can’t co-exist in peace and harmony. Why can’t they be content […]

Hatred’s Underground Streams

How fast is the influence of the far right in Ireland growing? This question has been on the agenda of public discussion since the assertion of the Garda Commissioner in May 2023 that the far right has failed to grow in Ireland, bucking trends in other European countries. ‘Across Europe,’ he said, ‘we have seen […]

A Hyphenated Identity

Like the optimistic white rectangle in the Irish tricolour, with its promise of conciliation between the Orange and the Green, the hyphen in ‘Anglo-Irish’ serves to obscure a dangerously intractable anomaly; and the career of Roger Casement, loyal servant of empire turned nationalist rebel, readily epitomises that contradiction. In the last of three tributes to […]

Sweeney Astray

Breakdown, by Cathy Sweeney, Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 218 pp, £18.99, ISBN: 978-1399617789 Modern Times, by Cathy Sweeney, The Stinging Fly Press, 148 pp, €15, ISBN: 978-1906539832 ‘A Story Of Our Time: Notes on Kafka’s The Judgement’, by Cathy Sweeney, The Stinging Fly, Issue 44, Volume 2: Summer 2021 ‘“First Love” by Samuel Beckett’, by Cathy […]

Confusio Linguarum

Intended as an assault on rigid conceptions of identity, it is fitting that Philippe Mouche’s Bons baisers d’Europe is itself is a hybrid, blending the reflections of a Zeitroman with the plot-driven zest of an espionage novel. Major events of the recent past feature, including Brexit, the war in Ukraine, the refugee crisis, the gilets […]

Nobel Noir

The award of the 2023 Nobel Prize for Literature to the Norwegian writer Jon Fosse did not come as a surprise. Fosse (born 1959) has long been a leading contender for the honour, which remains the most prestigious in world literature, despite recent controversies. First there was the decision (in 2016) to give it to […]