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Book Reviews
The Stairwell by Michael Longley
There are two sections to the 70-page volume, whose short verse epigraph is dedicated to Michael Viney. Part one pays the poet's abiding attention to nests and bird-life, rivers, missing or otherwise.The second section of the book is entitled For Peter, My Twin, and features poems which celebrate, often movingly, precious times shared with a dearly-missed brother. P Kehoe
Nora Webster by Colm Tóibín
Recently-bereaved Nora Webster must make her way through late 1960s Enniscorthy, rearing her two sons and two daughters, while struggling to make do with her widow’s pension and the financial assistance of family members. It's a masterful, often moving story which seems to offer more heft than Tóibín's most recent `Irish’ novel, Brooklyn. P Kehoe
Scatter Here is Too Great Tanweer
Bilal Tanweer’s debut novel is not a straightforward linear narrative, but gathers instead a number of contemporary stories from the city of Karachi, whose narratives converge climactically at a bomb blast in Cantt (Bus) Station in the city centre.This daring debut must be commended for its bold narrative approach and its particular sensitivity to portraying Pakistani society vividly, yet subtly. P Kehoe
Outline by Rachel Cusk
The narrator of Outline is a woman whose name is mentioned but once in the novel, so that it doesn't really matter what her name is, there is a stealthy sense of anonymity about her. Her destination is Athens where she will give a creative writing course in English. She meets a host of people in Athens - both through the course and socially - hears their stories and reflects on her own through what she tells. Brilliant, unmissable novel. PK
The Republic by Charles Townshend
In this 534-page work, Charles Townshend traces the struggle from the unilateral declaration of an independent Irish republic by an assembly of Sinn Féin MPs on January 21, 1919 up to the Treaty split and beyond. Townshend’s appealing study may well be the definitive account of those impassioned, violent times. Paddy Kehoe

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