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.

Tim Groenland

The Screen Went Blank

One of the consistent pleasures of Don DeLillo’s fiction is the sense of its author’s being attuned to frequencies of catastrophe that hum beneath the roar of the everyday: the toxic cloud on the horizon, the gunman in a lonely room, the ominous twitch in distant currency markets.

Rediscovered Territory

In a reimagined continuation of the Huckleberry Finn story, Huck is a reluctant witness to the march of ‘sivilization’ as it rampages across America. His relentlessly unheroic perspective and humanitarian pragmatism offer a partial antidote to the warlike machinations of his compatriots.

It Looks Like You’re Writing a Novel

Home computing and word processing are now so taken for granted that it’s hard to recreate how big a deal their first appearance was. One writer compared the cost of his device to his daughter’s school fees. Another had to have the machine lifted into his house by a crane.

The Polish Rising

In August 1944, Germany was retreating before the Red Army while in the west the liberation of France had begun. Polish patriots thought the time was right to launch an uprising in Warsaw, but the action proved to be a political and military disaster.

Lost in the Funhouse

Nabokov’s masterpiece still occasionally has to be defended against the charge that it uses a high-art modernist veneer to excuse pornographic pleasures. In fact it is a complex, convoluted literary puzzle, a hall of mirrors where moral viewpoint is elusive, an intellectual and aesthetic provocation set to challenge readers in a similar way to that in which a grandmaster sets a chess puzzle.

A Ghost is Born

In a new biography, David Foster Wallace mostly emerges as a sympathetic figure, a troubled man whose fearsome intelligence seemed only to exponentially increase his unhappiness.

My Words, Your Words

It seems simplistic, though, to view the work simply as the act of a bullying editor taking advantage of a struggling writer; the evidence suggests that Carver actively sought Lish’s input throughout his early career and considered much of his work to have been improved as a result. Editing itself is hardly a new phenomenon and has a noble place in literary history – Max Perkins’s paternalistic assistance was crucial to the careers of both Hemingway and Fitzgerald, for example (were it not for Perkins’s insistence, The Great Gatsby could have been called Trimalchio in West Egg), and the many fierce but friendly tussles between Frank O’Connor and New Yorker editor William Maxwell over the former’s short stories are recorded in the pair’s published letters. This kind of back-and-forth is not unusual in publishing, and is an accepted (and by many writers, valued) part of the creative process.