Penguin Modern Poets Three: A Review

This series aims to introduce readers to new, contemporary poets. I bought this collection as I’m of the belief that one cannot have enough Sharon Olds poetry in their possession and I’d never read any substantial amounts Booker or Shire although I have been a big fan of everything I’ve read or encountered. Suffice to…

That They May Face the Rising Sun: A Review

Although published in 2002, McGahern’s last novel has no tangible sense of time – apart from a reference to watching ‘Blind Date’ and the recent Enniskillen bombing, this could be set anytime in the 20th century. Set in rural Leitrim amongst a smattering of houses around a lake, this is a novel where time is…

Christmas in Austin: A Review

Centred around the four Essinger family as they descend upon their family home for Christmas, this is Markovtiz’s seventh novel and a typically incisive examination of the tensions in familial relationships. With each member of the family given their own turn at the narrative we get an insight into the conflict between living a life…

Big Sur – A Review

Big Sur is the quasi-autobiographical tale of Jack Duluoz who tries to escape his life in San Francisco by seeking solitude in a cabin the wilds of Big Sur. Expecting a lyrical exploration of adventures in the wilderness, I settled down in the dark night at Deetjens on Big Sur with the copy I’d picked…

Put that Phone Away! Review of Cal Newport’s ‘Digital Minimalism’

Everyone knows that social media is making us unhappy. If like me, you’ve tried to put your phone away, cut down on social media use etc only to fail miserably after a couple of days, you’ll understand the frustration of feeling like you’re controlled by the need to ‘stay connected’. What makes this book such…

Melmoth by Sarah Perry: A Review

It’s not very often that the protagonist of a novel is described with disgust but yet manages to elicit our sympathies, but that is just one of the many astonishing things about this wonderful book. The central character is Helen Franklin, a fairly pitiable woman in her early 40s working as a translator in Prague,…

Being Various: A Review

Being Various is a collection of new, especially commissioned short stories curated by Lucy Caldwell. It takes in the whole island, with the list of contributors reading like a who’s who of award-winning contemporary Irish short story writers. Kevin Barry’s ‘Who’s Dead McCarthy’ brings Dublin to life with a poignant vernacular whilst Eimear McBride plays…

Selected Poems: A Review

My first encounter with Paterson’s work was his second collection, God’s Gift to Women, a Poetry Book Society recommendation. One of the things I love most about that collection is the way Paterson has mixed a whole host of different elements to create a real poetry personality – there are references to ancient Greek mythology…

Stinging Fly Stories: A Review

This collection of short stories was published in 2018 and takes some of the best stories published in the pages of The Stinging Fly since its inception in 1998.  Featuring works by writers who won, were shortlisted and longlisted for the 2019 Sunday Times Short Story Award, (Danielle McLaughlin, Kevin Barry and Wendy Erskine respectively)…

A Book of Migrations

From the opening anecdotes comparing the veins on a stranger’s hands to earthworms, it’s clear that Solnit intends to dig under the topsoil and put the notion of ‘Irishness’ under the microscope. That it is so enjoyable to read is due to the beauty of her descriptive prose and her knack for breathing life into…