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

A Place to Stand

Sean O’Hogain
Poems whose titles use the word ‘against’, like ‘Against Despair’, ‘Against Anxiety’ and ‘Against Earnestness’, are not Groucho Marx-inspired (‘whatever it is I’m against it’) but rather resemble small prayers, personal ones rather than those out of the churches’ lexicon.
Jan 30, 2020, 08:37 AM
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Shandy, Anyone?

Tadhg Hoey
Imagine a ‘Down and Out in Paris and London’ for the 21st century, except that the kitchens and flophouses have become nightclubs and galleries and the immigrant dishwashers and angry chefs have been replaced by vagabond writers and stoned conceptual artists.
Jan 30, 2020, 08:47 AM
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Moving from the Familiar

Catherine Phil MacCarthy
Change, Anne Enright tells us, is chiefly what the short story is about, with something known at the end – or nearly known ‑ that was not known before. Many of Pat O’Connor’s stories begin in a place that is familiar to us but soon move to somewhere strange and unsettling.
Jan 30, 2020, 09:01 AM
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Glimmering in the Dark

Ross Moore
In his artfully constructed second novel, which displays a fine ear for dialogue and a sharp eye for the workings of relationships, Neil Hegarty has conflated patriarchy, religion, violence and family in a manner that is both exactingly specific and utterly convincing.
Jan 30, 2020, 09:09 AM
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Saturated with Light

Thomas McCarthy
Another perfect volume from Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, the poet of sunlight and cloisters. The collection is a joy to read, and a reminder, yet again, that poets are sent to amaze us, to bring us all nearer to the light.
Jan 30, 2020, 09:22 AM
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Putting it on

Catherine Kelly
Katherine O’Dell’s acting fame is based on being Hollywood-Irish, particularly in her role as a nun in the hugely successful ‘Mulligan’s Holy War’. Cinema, of course, trades in yearning and, as her daughter remarks, Katherine could miss the old sod standing in her own kitchen in Dublin.
Jan 30, 2020, 09:30 AM
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A European Destiny

Michael Foley
A massive and erudite history of southeastern Europe from late antiquity to the present demonstrates that the region is properly part of the continent’s history and culture rather than a transitional place between ‘Western’ order and civilisation and the chaos of the Orient.
Jan 30, 2020, 09:34 AM
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Not so Innocent

Ciaran O’Neill
The ‘Irish slaves’ meme enjoyed considerable success on social media for some time before its lack of historical substance was exposed. As the evidence of both documents and bricks and mortar attests, there is more reason to be aware of Irish slaveowners than slaves.
Jan 30, 2020, 12:28 PM
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America Dreaming

Nicole de Silva
There was a time when the American Dream was taken to mean the integration of immigrants and a reasonable level of prosperity for all. Yet it is reasonable to point out the term’s elasticity of meaning, and that today some of the hardest-working Americans remain poor.
Jan 30, 2020, 12:38 PM
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Washing the Nation’s Dirty Laundry

Ursula Quill
The women interned in mother-and-baby homes not only did forced penance for other people’s sins. They also quite literally washed the laundry of the state, including that of institutions like hospitals, the National Library, Áras an Uachtaráin and the ESB.
Jan 30, 2020, 12:43 PM
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Scholarship, snobbery, skulduggery

Jim Smyth
Sir John Harold Plumb was a prodigious historian and journalist. a tireless networker, a professor, master of Christ’s College, a member of the British Wine Standards Board. He collected porcelain, paintings, wine, acolytes, enemies, dowager duchesses and other people’s wives.
Jan 30, 2020, 12:51 PM
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Red Shift

Tom Wall
The Soviet Union was happy in the 1980s to forge links with a party that was acquiring more than its fair share of young intellectuals, many with influence in the Irish trade union movement. Nevertheless, Sinn Féin the Workers Party’s hostility to the IRA was a problem for Moscow.
Jan 30, 2020, 12:55 PM
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Waiting for Big Brother

Martin Tyrrell
Most biography of Orwell carries the assumption that his whole writing life was a preparation for his final work. This may well be so: the heroes and heroines of the earlier novels tend to be placed, alone or friendless, at the centre of a hostile world from which there is no escape.
Jan 30, 2020, 13:05 PM
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Waiting for Big Brother

Martin Tyrrell
Most biography of Orwell carries the assumption that his whole writing life was a preparation for his final work. This may well be so: the heroes and heroines of the earlier novels tend to be placed, alone or friendless, at the centre of a hostile world from which there is no escape.
Jan 30, 2020, 13:05 PM
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Seeking Hardy’s Thrush

Joseph M Hassett
It was Thomas Hardy’s ‘darkling thrush’, who flung his soul upon the gloom of the dawning 20th century, that brought Seamus Heaney to Dorset as the 21st began. Heaney’s dedication to all the voices and languages of the archipelago may be an inspiration in the years ahead.
Jan 30, 2020, 13:27 PM
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Enemies of the Nation

Enda O’Doherty
In late 19th century France, the propagandists of the far right warned that the nation faced a mortal enemy, a parasitical stranger who could not be assimilated. This was the Jew. Today the far right sees an almost identical foe, who is with us but not of us. This is the Muslim.
Jan 30, 2020, 20:55 PM
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