Lisa McInerney’s first novel can be tender but it is no romance, turning us down some grotty alleyways to where her real story lurks, dragging a spliff to the lip-burn and scrunching the last dregs from a can.
Tales from the Margin
Phyl Herbert writes in a clear, fluent style. Her stories are delicately constructed miniatures, tender glimpses into her often flawed characters as they make the best of their way through life.
Red Star Over China
Mao Zedong’s vision in the late 1940s was to replicate Soviet communism, whatever the cost for his people. The espousal of values of freedom and equality offered hope to war-weary citizens, but the new regime ran an intensely invasive and catastrophic tyranny from the start.
Out Of Their Feeling
A sparkling novel which traces the voyage of a number of young women transported to Australia to work in and help populate the ‘new land’ suggests that people can sometimes have surprising powers of adaptation, but also that they may need to forget their past.
A beautifully written memoir tells the life story of an Irish woman who knew most of the major figures of the bohemian Dublin of the mid-twentieth century, as well as many of the politicians, and who went on to carve out a successful career for herself in the travel business.
A loyal Moscow communist Sean Murray set up the Communist Party of Ireland in the early 1930s. Years of meetings, discussions and disputes followed. Murray’s life was devoted to the cause but did all that work amount to a hill of beans?
Bands of Brothers
The Third International, or Comintern, maintained for many years a vast international organisation none of its left-wing rivals could match. When the purges came in the 1930s, however, its members suffered to a proportionately greater extent than any other category.
The Disappearing Priest
Seminarians were traditionally taught to view the body with suspicion, as a source of temptation and sin. By embracing celibacy, many priests believed they were distinguishing themselves from ordinary men and women, that they were in some way superior to them.
Old Europe, Aging America
Two recent works of literary theory sketch a robust structural account of the literary world system centred on London and Paris. But one might ask if this system can be better historicised and whether there are ways to conceive of its operational logics less rigidly.
Friends At War
Was the Irish Civil War really a struggle between social classes?