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.

Declan O’Driscoll

Time and the Woman

Eimear Mc Bride’s new novel presents us with a woman, or maybe a series of women, at various stages of life, presented within the confines of a hotel room, but on each occasion in a different city. There is a twist at the end. But it’s not a plot twist, because there is no plot.

Waiting for Dilly

In Kevin Barry’s new novel two drug-dealers reminisce about their shared past in a stylised, expletive-filled Hiberno-English. The language used to disentangle their characters and circumstances is wildly expressive and full of observations and inflections that are unexpected and perfectly placed.

What’s That Racket?

A Croatian dog writes about the loud love-making that is repeatedly heard in his apartment block at night, ‘the little acoustic scandal that has been rocking our neighbourhood’. But really he wants to talk about love and loyalty. No creature feels rejection more than a dog.

Symphony in Blue

Yelena Moskovich’s new novel develops depth and passion as it progresses, while never losing a sense of humour. All its early connections develop and entwine. No character is central, because the novel is multi-voiced and unconcerned about the insistence of plot.

A Fire in the Brain

James Joyce never wanted to believe that his daughter could not be cured of her mental illness, saying ‘whatever spark or gift I possess has been transmitted to Lucia and has kindled a fire in her brain’. The problem was, however, that the fire could not be extinguished.

Not So Simple

When a narrator declares her boredom and indifference, the danger is that this will be met with a responding yawn from an equally uninvolved reader. What maintains interest in Joanna Walsh’s work is the quality of the writing and the honesty of the insights.

Wordplay

It’s not easy being in a Joanna Walsh story. Nothing is quite as it should be and however fervently you maintain hope, that vision you have of how life might approach perfection ‑ the image imagined ‑ never settles or sharpens into focus.