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Book Reviews
Keyes: Making It Up As I Go Along
The sub-title to Marian Keyes’ new book – a rare foray into non-fiction for the hugely successful novelist - is `Tales from an eejit who was buying shoes the day Life’s Rulebook was issued.’ Marian’s quirky observations on life and its oddities and vagaries shine unerringly through in these fluently unstoppable accounts. Isn’t she the lucky person to get to holiday in the Auvergne? But that doesn’t quite go to plan, like the time she bought ten slices of what she thought was Parma ham which she later discovered were actually raw bacon. Such is life chez Marian's. Paddy Kehoe
we don't know what we're doing
Caerphilly in South Wales is the location for most of Thomas Morris’s quirky stories, we don’t know what we're doing which begins with a tale called Bolt, perhaps be the name of the young man who narrates it. Or is it that he is about to bolt? In any case, he is about to close the bolt on a video store and, in all likelihood move on from Caerphilly. Aside from being a place where the less fortunate perhaps are fated to stay all their lives, Caerphilly in Thomas Morris’ engaging stories is a place from which people also leave when they get a chance. The town is therefore somewhere they come back to, say, at Christmas, returning from more hip and sophisticated places like Edinburgh. Engaging and vivid tales with loneliness hovering at their edges. P K
Clarice Lispector Collected Stories
Colm Tóibín has written of the Brazilian author Clarice Lispector (1920-1977) that she “had an ability to write as though no one had ever written before.” She wrote of women trapped in faulty marriages but she also delved in the human psyche.Tóibín has also described Lispector as " one of the hidden geniuses of the twentieth century." Sample her genius for yourself in Katrina Dodson's translations from the Portuguese.
A Nation and not a Rabble -Ferriter
Ferriter has drawn on a multitude of sources to complete his exhaustive account, whose subtitle is The Irish Revolution 1913-1923. (Bibliography and notes alone amount to 70 pages in the 517–page work.) He looks at the Unionist view - in the work of historians preternaturally inclined to Unionism - and he teases out the various strands of nationalism. He carefully separates the wheat of the pragmatic from the chaff of the bombastic. He points out that many of the Volunteer generation were involved in the struggle because they wished to counter the Unionist threat, rather than for a patriotic ideal of the kind promulgated by the IRB.
Coloured Handprints
The work of 20 contemporary German poets is presented in the original and translated into English in Coloured Handprints: 20 German-Language Poets, a 173-page collection which offers a welcome insight into the preoccupations and obsessions of poets whose names will be new to most Irish readers.
Anatoly Kudryavitsky and Yulia Kudryavitsky have done an impeccable job in rendering into English what must be some difficult construction work in many of the poems collected in the anthology, some of whose poems deal obliquely with memories of the Second World War and the police state that was East Germany before the fall of the Wall. Anton G Leitner has provided an illuminating introduction Paddy Kehoe

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