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Space to Think, a new book celebrating ten years of the Dublin Review of Books More Information 

A Narrow Sea, by Jonathan Bardon

A history of the interactions between Ireland and Scotland over two millennia, told in a series of 120 episodes, ranges entertainingly from the Roman governor Agricola’s plan to invade Ireland from Scotland to 21st century pitch invasions at Ibrox and Celtic Park.
May 17, 2019, 10:58 AM

To Live Like a Moor, Olivia Remie Constable

The cultural absorption or lack of it of large immigrant communities may not have predictable outcomes. The relationship between culture and politics, it seems, is not straightforward and drawing political conclusions from cultural practices is an inexact business.
May 17, 2019, 09:18 AM

The One Hundred Best Novels in Translation, by Boyd Tonkin

A new anthology of works of fiction translated into English is modest about its ambitions and disclaims any ambition to be ‘canonical’. Nevertheless it is a smartly executed work, which invites us to fill in some gaps in our literary education and ‘get out a bit more’.
May 10, 2019, 07:32 AM

Revivalism and Modern Irish Literature, by Fionntán de Brún

Once independence was won, the question facing Irish ideologues and leaders was how to make revival real. It was then that the tenuous and tentative nature of the relation between the cultural and the political became clear. Those different spheres would never march in lockstep.
May 10, 2019, 07:21 AM

Time’s Factory

Fintan Calpin
Ali Smith’s novels have always been interested in deviant temporalities and ‘unexpected afterlives’. Her narratives are never singular or isolated, but a gathering of threads and she has also pushed at the formal boundaries between the novel and the essay.
May 2, 2019, 13:21 PM

Where Do the Dead Go?

Marie Rooney
Freud saw ‘Trauerarbeit’, literally grief work, as a work of breaking the bonds that tied the survivor to the deceased – ‘letting go’ and ‘moving on’. Current thinking however would be more open to the idea that while death may end a life, it doesn’t necessarily end a relationship.
May 2, 2019, 13:17 PM

Deadly Precision

Amanda Bell
A particular feature of Rita Ann Higgins’s new collection is the use of juxtaposition: essays appear side-by-side with poems tackling their subject from a different angle. It is fascinating to see this process, with the background which informs a poem laid out in prose form.
May 2, 2019, 13:13 PM

More than a Small Glow

Neil McCarthy
Moya Roddy presents us with poetry that is straight out of the ordinary, a refreshing reminder that not every poem needs to be an epic, complicated, deep analogy of something or another; the kind that make open mics up and down the country the stuff of nightmares.
May 2, 2019, 13:09 PM

Teenage Kicks

Susan McKeever
A group of youngsters from Derry is interested in the same things that many youngsters elsewhere are interested in – sex and drugs and rock ’n’ roll. But this is 1981, Bobby Sands is getting closer to death and to the normal trio of pleasures is added another experience, war.
May 2, 2019, 13:06 PM

Buried Treasures

Patricia Craig
Belfast’s Balmoral Cemetery was once a gloriously dishevelled and spooky playground favoured by the more adventurous among neighbourhood children. But after many complaints it was cleaned up, and it’s now as straight-lined and ‘Protestant-looking’ as anyone could wish.
May 2, 2019, 07:49 AM

The Botplot

Kevin Power
Ian McEwan’s novels tend to set up a clash between opposing worldviews, with the authorial thumb pressed heavily on one side of the scales. His latest, a humanist exploration of posthumanist ideas, is a hugely pleasurable read, but might the author not have tried to surprise us a little more?
May 2, 2019, 07:34 AM

The SS’s Bargaining Chips

David Blake Knox
As World War Two drew to an end, a number of prominent prisoners of the Germans were moved to South Tyrol in the Italian Alps. Among them were veterans of the Great Escape, two former European prime ministers and a handful of Irishmen who had served in the British army.
May 2, 2019, 07:29 AM

Struggling towards Citizenship

Tom Hennigan
For all Brazil’s great size and demographic weight, and the economic and social progress marked up since the return of democracy in the 1980s, the country continues to be the champion of social inequality and is still struggling to construct true republican values and true citizens.
May 2, 2019, 07:21 AM

Living in the End Times

John Fanning
Oscar Wilde saw one significant drawback to socialism – ‘too many meetings’. But with increasing inequality and ample evidence of big money’s erosion of democracy, citizens who wish to save it may well have to resign themselves to going out the occasional night.
May 2, 2019, 07:16 AM

Magic, Modernity, #MeToo

Tony McKenna
Whereas Homer, and the Homeric heroes, would have regarded manual labour as a noble pursuit, Plato saw ‘mechanical crafts’ and the raising of ‘sordid beasts’ (farming) as activities suitable only to the lowest ranks, distracting man from the encounter with his soul.
May 2, 2019, 07:11 AM

Pinning Down the Protean

Philip O’Leary
Alan Titley is probably the most important writer in Irish since Ó Cadhain. It is a daunting challenge to anatomise a writer as various, versatile and sometimes difficult as Titley, but Máirtín Coilféir suggests that one valuable path into understanding his writing might be through the lens of ethics.
May 2, 2019, 07:01 AM

Peace to end Peace

Angus Mitchell
In making the case that war is simply humanity’s natural lot, other causes of conflict, such as secret diplomacy, the arms trade, inequality, censorship to protect national security and industrial capitalism’s wish to profit from misery, perhaps get off rather lightly.
May 2, 2019, 06:55 AM

The Brazils of my Bedroom

Andrew Lees
According to one source, Lt Col Percy Harrison Fawcett, who went missing in the Brazilian rain forest in 1925, was a Colonel Blimp figure who discovered nothing. According to another, he is still alive in the underground city of Ibez, where he can materialise and dematerialise at will.
May 2, 2019, 06:47 AM