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.

Susan McCallum Smith

Tell me about your Mother

Nuala Ní Chonchúir’s new novel portrays the challenge of being both mother and artist, its most interesting character an emotionally abusive alcoholic for whom motherhood has not been enough and who dares to suggest it is possible for a mother to feel ambivalence toward her child.

Snap, Crackle and Pop

Emma Donoghue’s Frog Music is the latest evidence of the writer’s ability to create rich characters and stories in whichever historical context she chooses. But do the historical research and narrative brio sometimes come at the expense of deeper introspection for the novel’s characters and a more satisfying grappling with the human condition?

Almost a Hoot

Charlotte Mendelson has abundant imagination and considerable comic gifts, but she would be well advised to pay more serious attention to the detail of her execution.

Staring Down the Barrel

Some critics have found the protagonist of Claire Messud’s new novel unlikeable, which is not just absurd but ironic, given that the novel’s premise is society’s expectations of women’s behaviour.