Two new Irish novels that both deal with the same subject have been published recently. Words to Shape My Name by Laura McKenna and The Ballad of Lord Edward and Citizen Small by Neil Jordan deal with the former slave Tony Small, servant of United Irishman Lord Edward Fitzgerald. Though both novels tell the same […]Read more "No Small Feat"
I’ve written about Irish novelist John Banville several times. I regard him as one of the finest contemporary prose stylists working in English. He is not everyone’s cup of tea. For every person who is a fan, you’ll find a detractor. His characters are ghastly, they say (well, this is true, but then again, great […]Read more "The Book of Evidence"
He tries desperately to appear wise and clever to people, taking to wearing all black, sunglasses indoors, holding impressive works of literature in the hope that passers-by will be interested, telling the manager of Shakespeare & Co. in Paris that their essay section is disappointing (despite not having any suggestions on how to improve it).
If this sounds insufferable to you, then perhaps Tunnel Vision isn’t for you.Read more "Tunnel Vision"
From month to month, their routine barely deviates, yet a lot has changed … ageing has something to do with it … they have evolved to where they are now and to who they are, each massively influencing the other’s growth … people in love or in what they might in their own delusional state […]Read more "My Coney Island Baby"
This is the second – yes, only the second – review for my 20 Books of Summer Challenge Excepting some engravings and that postage stamp portraying One Pound Jimmy, I had never seen an Aboriginal. They were all far away in dusty history, or in hot places where they threw stones at passing cars … […]Read more "A Long Way from Home – 20 Books of Summer"
Is it a YA novel disguised as a cyber thriller? A treatise on love? A condemnation of our hyperconnected selves, our slavish devotion to technology? A philosophical evaluation of what it means to be human in the 21st century?Read more "Connect"
The title hints at one of the themes of the novel, which is that there are two Istanbuls, the one above ground and the one below, and each is ‘transformed’ in sense through acts of creation and imagination. The prisoners transform their surroundings through imagination and fantasy, parables and riddles, and likewise the city above is changed by time and love.Read more "ISTANBUL ISTANBUL"
“I’m only twelve,” said Ralph, “and I’m useless at lying. I’m no good at it.” (p127) “He’d have stuck with his namesake and Piggy. At least he hoped he would. He wasn’t very brave. But he’d have tried.” (270) Carlo Gébler’s The Innocent of Falkland Road is a coming of age tale set in […]Read more "The Innocent of Falkland Road"
“A house, a labyrinth of rubbish, a crazy old man and a message in a bottle: all the ingredients of a twisted crime story.” “The loveliest eyes are found in the heads of women who have suffered … Damage lies at their shining core. As I said, Drennan, you have beautiful eyes.” “Memories are […]Read more "The Hoarder"
Composed almost entirely of short monologues by the ghostly inhabitants of the cemetery, it reads less like a conventional novel and more like a drama, or perhaps a scrapbookRead more "Lincoln in the Bardo"