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.

Carlo Gébler

Home As Hell

Tara Westover’s childhood was dominated by her father’s apocalyptic beliefs. She was born at home, and never had a birth certificate. She never went to hospital, or to a dentist, or school. Eventually she escaped, but realised that she knew nothing – or nothing that is true – about the world.

Bleak New World

Julian Gough’s new novel portrays a world that we are already well on the way to – one in which human concerns are very much outweighed by issues of the control of ‘tech’. It’s perhaps a problem that a certain kind of reader remains unmoved by tech and stubbornly interested in people.

Folks Like Us

The central characters in Bernard MacLaverty’s ‘Midwinter Break’ are frail, contrary, inadequate, self-serving, self-destructive, hopeless, hopeful, desperate, kindly, thoughtless, and all the other things that make people people. No wonder their story is so fascinating.

Playing with the Bits

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.

A Great Delight, A Little Load

Peter Fallon’s version of the Greek poet Hesiod’s best-known work avoids the traps of exaggerated fidelity to ancient poetic protocol and wilful anachronism. There is also modesty in his practice: this is about Hesiod, and admiration of what Fallon can do is not allowed to get in the way.

War in Words

And by wars what he had in mind, Gerald Dawe went on to explain, were not only those that one might expect Irish poets to write about (“the Easter Rising, the War of Independence, and the civil war in Ireland”) but those other twentieth century wars, including the Great War, the Spanish Civil War and the Second World War.

Sound, from Top to Toe

The work of the Fermanagh poet and editor Frank Ormsby is notable for its quietness, its lucidity, its scrupulous particularity and specificity, its modesty (there is no showing off – ever), its respect for the reader, and – hold onto your hats – its accessibility.

A Life in Books

Denis Sampson’s memoir has no major dramas, and all its crises are inward and personal. Nevertheless it gives readers a sense of what constitutes the real value and the real worth of literature and writers a sense of what is possible, which can only be good for standards.