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.

Carol Taaffe

Lost on Leeside

The hero of Lisa McInerney’s ‘The Glorious Heresies’ is back in her second novel, ‘The Blood Miracles’. Ryan Cusack, now pushing twenty-one, has just come out of hospital confused and depressed. He has been offered a rebirth of sorts but new beginnings are not easy.

Suffering and Sanctity

Emma Donoghue’s new novel, set in nineteenth century, post-Famine Ireland and centring on the case of a ‘fasting child’ who refuses all food, is at its most compelling in the attention it devotes to a religious culture that elevates suffering, and yet which provides consolation too.

Far from Home

Mia Gallagher’s new novel is a capacious one. It is difficult to capture all at once, and as such it is a work that would repay returning to. As the playful cabinet of curiositiesdevice that it features might suggest, it is also a novel that might appear very differently on each reading.

Art And Power

Dmitri Shostakovich achieved success and fame as a composer early in life, and that may have made him particularly vulnerable. He had been one of the most prominent artists in Russia all through the worst years of Stalin’s rule. The consequence was a life lived in fear.

Gianni in Buncrana

He came from out foreign and he spoke wild funny. All the older girls thought he was the last word from the day and hour they set eyes on him but they were stupid, and he would no more look at them than if he was the man in the moon.

Against the Tide

In the 1970s an obscure provincial schoolmistress created an organisation to be reckoned with whose aim was to purge British television of filth and blasphemy.

The Truth Teller

Casement’s achievement was to observe and to testify, proving that the gross myths and exaggerations reaching Europe about these places were not gross myths and exaggerations at all. There is some irony in that. The cruelty which this novel underlines is that the life of Roger Casement - a great documentarian, a man who exposed atrocious truths - was to become forever synonymous with myth and distortion.

Back To The Reader

In the opening interview, Enright expresses her impatience with endless questions about “Irishness”. And that leads her into a telling digression:

Behind The Curtain

The memory of Robert Emmet would remain venerated in the James family - Henry James Snr was adept at reciting the speech from the dock. But his novelist son had little sympathy for Ireland. When his sister’s diary was printed two years after her death, he remarked how the years which Alice spent in England had revealed her to be “really an Irishwoman! … in spite of her so much larger and finer than Irish intelligence”.

Opening Up

To many readers, the attraction lies in this firm refusal of mystery about the act itself (though to Philip Larkin, the prospect of visiting universities to explain how a poem was written was “like going round explaining how you sleep with your wife”). While Paris Review interviews might be sifted for critical insights, they are traditionally the ground where the apprentice writer hunts for clues on the literary trade.