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.

Éilís Ní Dhuibhne

Tales of Wonder

What we call fairytales rarely feature fairies, but they recount, in a rich code of metaphors and symbols, the journey of human beings from childhood to adulthood. They are simple and profound, in structure elementary and unfussy, in ideas basic and universal, in style beautiful and attractive.

Two By Two

Fairy tales, as the German scholar Max Luthi has pointed out, are one-dimensional, they happen on the surface, the characters are agents who perform actions and express a very limited range of emotions if any. Nonetheless, a central concern ot the tales is human emotion. Specifically they deal with adolescents growing up, finding independence and emotional maturity. But their profound meaning is expressed in images and action, not in introspection or analysis.

Give a Thing and Take it Back

Walk the Blue Fields, by Claire Keegan, Faber & Faber, 163 pp, £10.99, ISBN: 978-0571233069 The story which has attracted most critical attention in this,...