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 74, January 2016

Issue 74, January 2016

Doing The Locomotion

Dubliner Dionysius Lardner couldn’t wangle a job at Trinity despite his remarkable gifts of clarity and exposition, but he was nevertheless a successful publisher in England and criss-crossed America, addressing huge audiences as one of the great scientific popularisers of his era.

Held By The Roots

Gerard Smyth is a poet strongly associated with his native Dublin, and in particular with the period of his childhood and youth. His new collection is marked by an impulse to record, with piety and fidelity. The tone is elegiac, yet the poems are still open to the new and exotic

Body And Soul

Ta Nehisi Coates contends that white supremacy is a force so fundamental to America that it is difficult to imagine the country without it. Marilynne Robinson argues that moral revival, though its results are never enough, is also central to the American tradition and that we should not despair.

Mind Games

Oppressed by his inability to write and seeking an intense experience, John Lennon sets out, accompanied by his wise and unflappable native guide, Cornelius O’Grady, on a journey westward to Clew Bay in Kevin Barry’s brilliant, virtuoso, boundary-breaking new novel.

Communities At War

It might be expected that World War II’s impact in Northern Ireland would be determined by sectarian criteria, with unionists relishing the opportunity to prove their loyalty and nationalists stubbornly withholding their support. In reality things were more complex.

Lord of the Flies

Jerry Coyne’s shouty polemic against religion, and against the possibility of any accommodation between science and religious belief, is largely an attack on creationism and ‘ìntelligent design’. It is hard to see it being taken seriously anywhere but in the US.

The Polish Rising

In August 1944, Germany was retreating before the Red Army while in the west the liberation of France had begun. Polish patriots thought the time was right to launch an uprising in Warsaw, but the action proved to be a political and military disaster.

The Commemoration Trap

All political parties cannibalise the past selectively for facts and arguments deemed useful to safeguarding and advancing their future fortunes. This is normal and to be expected. But what is produced in this way is not history, which is a discipline whose goal is understanding.

The Big World Spins

Ireland in the revolutionary and Civil War years seemed to be much taken up with its own affairs. But Dubliners flocked to a lavish new picture palace, attended a world title fight and, in spite of warnings of the moral dangers, enthusiastically danced to jazz rhythms in Dawson Street.

England Unfree

A novel written entirely in an archaic version of English and without the benefit of punctuation evokes the world of the Saxons overwhelmed by the sudden and brutal invasion of the Normans in the late eleventh century. It has been a surprise bestseller.