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 66, April 2015

Issue 66, April 2015

Eating Crow

An arresting debut novel is a notable contribution to the genre of Irish populist gothic and is dark enough to make one wonder if it might not be the last word on broken-family, ruined-child tropes of betrayal and inadequacy.

Wrong Train, Right Station

William Blake placed Dante alongside the prophets of the Old Testament, Homer and Shakespeare as an embodiment of poetic genius and he worked studiously on a series of drawings illustrating episodes from the Divine Comedy in the last years of life.

A Bit of Help, Comrade?

Throughout the 1980s, two left-wing parties, the increasingly ambitious and successful SFWP, later WP, and the Communist Party of Ireland (CPI) competed for the favour and financial support of the Soviet bloc. But at the end of the decade it all came tumbling down.

Not all Beef and Ale

Anthony Trollope has the reputation of being a conventional and comfortable writer, valued by various Tory prime ministers as a purveyor of enjoyable light political intrigue but in his Irish novels he emerges as a somewhat more complex and double-sided figure.

He Had to Do Something

Sean O’Faoláin was not exactly a man of the people but a man who had ideas of the people. He was a Catholic, but he’d be damned if he was an Irish Catholic, and his taste veered towards the haute bourgeois, which was not the kind of thing you would shop locally for.

Goodbye Schweinhund, Hallo Nachbar?

A number of recently published books give hope that the ‘fog of war’ which has blanketed the modern British view of Germany is beginning to lift, allowing a view of the nation in the perspective of its entire history and not just the disastrous twelve-year episode of the Third Reich.

Well, Kerrang!!!

Michael Hofmann is a poet, essayist and translator. The latter activity, he has said, he undertakes partially to compensate for the slimness of his poetic work but he also has strong views, in particular noisily rejecting the idea that translation should be transparent or impersonal.

Feeling the Squeeze

A new study of the decline of the Protestant community in independent Ireland deals principally not with the Big Houses or the commercial bourgeoisie but with the ‘little people’ and their response to the violence and threats of violence they faced during the Troubles.

Why Kill Charlie?

Stéphane Charbonnier (‘Charb’), the murdered editor of ‘Charlie Hebdo’, was a distinctly old-fashioned leftist – of the kind which has no hang-ups about hurting people’s feelings. For him, ridicule was a quasi-religious cause, one for which he was prepared to sacrifice himself.

Married to the Mob

The moral compass of much of traditional journalism can look quaint when the outraged vigilante democracy of Twitter is unleashed. As Jon Ronson’s new book makes clear, these vicious contemporary bullyings and shamings are not driven by ‘them’ but by ‘us’.