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.

Kevin Stevens

The Shining River

A chapter-length extract from Kevin Stevens’s new novel, an urban crime drama about money, race, and class set in Kansas City in the 1930s.

Lovely Visitors

Lorrie Moore, like Beckett, can find comedy in utter darkness and uses the richness of language as a way of finding, if not solace, at least a way of framing and confronting tragedy.

The Grace of Accuracy

Jason Sommer’s fourth poetry collection exhibits a master’s command of language, rhythm, and image, a formidable narrative gift and an unflinching willingness to take on themes that are both intensely personal and expansively historical.


Though he fell out with the temper of the times in the later 1960s, in the light of history Bellow will be a judged a great American novelist, and Herzog, cerebral and earthy, imbued with two thousand years of learning yet crackling with wiseass Chicago wit, will be accounted his masterpiece.

All the Known World

Many critics focus on James Salter’s stylistic precision and love of detail as if he is all surface. In fact, his art ushers us towards a larger view, an understanding of American character that is rooted in history.

Keepable Sentences

An interview with American novelist Kent Haruf, whose stories of the high plains of Colorado, with their plain but perfectly crafted style and exacting verisimilitude, achieve a mythic dimension rare in contemporary fiction

Soundtrack to the Century

For fifty years, Duke Ellington was America’s most important and innovative musical figure, achieving distinction as a composer, arranger, songwriter, bandleader and pianist, and writing and producing timeless music of every kind.

An Inch From The Everyday

Ford’s narrators get into our ears. A master of first person narrative, he creates observers who are lyrical and philosophical yet confused; situated outside the principal action but profoundly affected by it; urged on by a desire for engagement with life but consistently puzzled by and fearful of the world’s random give and take. The lilt and tone and hesitancy of these voices lure us into their owners’ lives.

Wise Guy

The heroes of these books are anguished men who nurse large grievances, battle grasping wives and dominating fathers, and are out of sync with the rah-rah optimism of the times. They make their way through an America at the zenith of its postwar prestige, pre-Vietnam, with the dollar supreme, gas at thirty cents a gallon, and a military-industrial complex so powerful it frightened even the old warhorse Dwight Eisenhower. Within this purring beast of a nation, so at ease with itself on the surface, Bellow found disquiet.

The Last Thing She Wanted

Didion’s sensibility has roots in sixties drift and New Journalism iconoclasm, but refracted through a conservative temperament, not unlike the satirical streak of her contemporary Tom Wolfe, that is partly an expression of her origins: Episcopalian, California old money, daughter of a career army officer.