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

The Hive Mind

John Fanning
Charged with reviving the ‘New Republic’, Franklin Foer hired good writers. Quality improved but sales didn’t. ‘Data specialists’ were hired, who insisted that the editor should focus on ‘snackable content’. He complied, but then resigned and wrote a very interesting book as revenge.
Apr 3, 2018, 21:14 PM

Playing with the Bits

Carlo Gébler
Misery, Paul Muldoon would have us know, wasn’t just back then. We’re still mired in it. His pessimism is bracing but never depressing: this has quite a lot to do with his wit and his lightness, both of which are considerable.
Apr 3, 2018, 21:08 PM

Cut and Catch

Gerard Smyth

While Tom French moves much further afield in several of the poems in his new collection, enlarging his range and what might be called his world view, it is to localism and ‘the small things of the day’ that he mostly stays true and which are the fruitful source of so much of his work.

Apr 3, 2018, 20:57 PM

From Europe’s Borderlands

Victoria Melkovska
An exciting new bilingual anthology of Ukrainian poetry might remind us of  a row of Soviet-era apartment blocks, with multiple kitchen windows open at the same time and different voices coming from inside. Put together, it is a melting pot of voices and cultures.
Apr 3, 2018, 20:46 PM

On the Mend

Sam McManus
The actor Stephen McGann has told, through the prism of health and illness, the story of his family over several generations, from their origins in Famine-scarred Roscommon, to the Liverpool slums and on to the postwar social progress which brought social medicine and social mobility.
Apr 3, 2018, 20:38 PM

Homosexuals, Drunks and Weirdos

Brian Boyd
The British recruited their intelligence officers from the top echelons of society. When many of them turned out to be working for the other side the popular press turned on this ‘elite’ and, arguably, all ‘elites’, with deleterious effects on public thinking that may extend up to Brexit.
Apr 3, 2018, 20:30 PM

Connoisseur of Foolishness

Kevin Stevens
Today’s bulbous literary novels are remarkably tolerant of longueurs, asides and arbitrary disquisitions, says Thomas McGuane. That can be their virtue. Not so short stories. Short stories share some of the traits of poetry, which could scarcely tolerate the liberties of novels.
Apr 3, 2018, 16:03 PM

Love Me Why Don’t You?

Jon Smith
Donald Trump may appear to thrive on antagonism – and indeed he has no trouble finding it – but he is also a man who is desperate for approbation. A populist with a totalitarian mindset, he is that strangest of creatures – a political confidence man with no confidence.
Apr 3, 2018, 15:41 PM

Making Russia Great Again

Pádraig Murphy
Vladimir Putin has made it clear that he plans to operate through an authoritarian state at home, while abroad he wishes Russia to be felt as a great power again, even if that means ‘breaking the American monopoly on the breaking of international law’.
Apr 3, 2018, 15:35 PM

The Quixote of Cant

Martin Tyrrell
George Orwell set himself the mission of uncovering and ‘calling out’ all forms of political lying and evasion, particularly those of the people he called ‘the boiled rabbits of the Left’. He often chose his targets well, though he was far from being without foibles or prejudices himself.
Apr 3, 2018, 15:01 PM

Sons and Mothers

Ann Kennedy Smith
Samuel Beckett largely attempted to escape the maternal embrace, insisting that his future would be decided by him rather than her. Philip Larkin’s relationship with his mother seems to have been much warmer, based at least partially on a shared pessimistic attitude to life.
Apr 3, 2018, 14:50 PM

For Nothing

Sean Byrne
Groups which benefited hugely from NAMA were the lawyers, estate agents and surveyors whose businesses had been hit by the bursting of the bubble. As the government cut allowances for carers and deprived the chronically sick of medical cards, €2.6 billion was set aside for professional fees. 
Apr 3, 2018, 14:43 PM

Revolution for Export

John Swift
A major new study explores the relationship between the American and French revolutions and goes on to consider how events in the Thirteen States impacted on Canada, Ireland, Haiti, Spain and Latin America, the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland and Greece in the period up to 1848.
Apr 3, 2018, 14:24 PM

Step Back, Make Space

Fergus O’Ferrall
A ‘peace’ consisting of two separate communities deterring each other from dominance in a fragile see-saw balance of power, where there is no real sharing in a common civic culture, is no real peace. What is required instead is Christian reconciliation based on a rejection of sectarianism.
Apr 3, 2018, 13:54 PM

Revolutionary Year

Matthew Kovac
A new anthology of essays on the year 1916 seeks to internationalise the study of the Easter Rising, often treated as a purely domestic matter, and to restore that year, long neglected in favour of Bolshevik 1917, to its proper place as the revolutionary hinge of twentieth century politics.
Apr 3, 2018, 13:17 PM

Exit from Metroland

Giles Newington
The plain-speaking, undeceived tone of Julian Barnes’s narrators, together with his suburban settings, can make him seem a quintessentially English writer. Normally, however, the gradually revealed unreliability of these narrators serves to subvert the assumptions of the middle class world.
Apr 3, 2018, 13:06 PM

The Other Side of the Sky

Luke Gibbons
For some it is only a matter of time before the digital world catches up with its human creators, but for Wittgenstein it was a matter of principle that computer codes could never acquire the nuances and complexity of ordinary language, let alone the resonances of literature.
Apr 3, 2018, 13:00 PM