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 44, November 4th, 2013

Issue 44, November 4th, 2013

Hope in Guatemala

The overthrow of Árbenz in 1954 was among the most ill-conceived CIA operations. In the hypercharged atmosphere of the early cold war, President Dwight Eisenhower, secretary of state John Foster Dulles, and his brother, CIA director Allen Dulles, decided that Guatemala threatened the United States.

Iran and Realpolitik

In the West people generally think of the Islamic world as very ideological, and indeed it is, but the world is complex and realpolitik plays a dominant role in the Muslim sphere just as it does everywhere else.


A stroll along Dublin’s river Liffey, from Heuston Station, past Eve and Adam’s and out to the bend of the bay, reveals the city’s seventeen and a half bridges and the stories behind them.


Anne Carson’s work is marked by a sense of the strange and a belief in the value of difficult art in forcing us to test known limits and forms of understanding.

Birds in Words

British writer, radio producer and birdwatcher Tim Dee is the laureate of the feathered world, from the capercaillie, in Jacobean doublet, ink black with pearl drops, puffing his wobbling throat and singing like a drunk, to Ukraine bustards, calandra larks, swallows, black grouse, nightjars and demoiselle cranes.

The Ends of the Earth

In 1936, James Agee and photographer Walker Evans travelled on assignment to Hale County in Alabama, a place inhabited by poor tenant farmers, where the world seemed ironclad, immutable, one year discernible from another only by another death or marriage, the unsurprising and largely joyless round of a life without exits.

That’ll All have to go

It’s a wonder any of Georgian Dublin survived at all given how many enemies it had, from government ministers bearing historic resentments to state companies wishing to make a mark, speculative property developers in cahoots with party fundraisers, dangerous buildings inspectors and demented roads engineers.

Crimes and Punishment

Germans have confronted the crimes of the Nazi regime with honesty and thoroughness. Important sections of Japanese society, however, prefer to forget or forgive the wartime actions of their army and deal with victim nations with defiance, not conciliation.

Lost in the Funhouse

Nabokov’s masterpiece still occasionally has to be defended against the charge that it uses a high-art modernist veneer to excuse pornographic pleasures. In fact it is a complex, convoluted literary puzzle, a hall of mirrors where moral viewpoint is elusive, an intellectual and aesthetic provocation set to challenge readers in a similar way to that in which a grandmaster sets a chess puzzle.