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Book Reviews

England And Other Stories by Graham Swift

The 25 stories in Swift's new collection examine England and the people who live there from quirky angles, tales that mostly engage completely in short sprints.

  • A young man's creation written under the close shadow of James Joyce

    Echo's Bones by Samuel Beckett

    The previously unpublished story Echo's Bones is too in love with its future necessity for footnotes. It is little more than a young man's creation, written under the close shadow of James Joyce.

  • Holloways were used as routes to pilgrim places, to the sea and to market.

    Holloway by Macfarlane, Donwood & Richards

    This 36-page work details time spent trekking through an ancient holloway in Dorset. It's part-authored by Robert Macfarlane, one of the most revered writer-naturalists working in English at present.

  • Nicolson's journey around the Homeric world: Ulysses and Achilles, and the stories of their exploits assembled in the Iliad and the Odyssey.

    The Mighty Dead by Adam Nicolson

    Homer's epic poems, The Iliad and the Odyssey, are the oldest stories that mankind has for reading and their background and complex origins are explored in this fascinating new book.

  • An invaluable aid for dealing with everything life throws at us

    Mindfulness On the Go Padraig O'Morain

    Padraig O'Morain is a writer and psychotherapist, who has practised mindfulness for 25 years. His accessible 200-page work demonstrates how we can feel more at home in our own skin, both at work and at home.

  • Sense of the fantastic and the surreal: Machado De Assis

    Stories - Joaquim Maria Machado De Assis

    In these ten stories, The Brazilian writer Machado de Assis's sense of the fantastic prefigures the work of the much-better known Argentinian writer, Jorge Luis Borges. Woody Allen is a fan.

  • Derek Walcott - new collection of his exuberant, erudite poems

    The Poetry of Derek Walcott 1948-2013

    Born in St Lucia (West Indies) in 1930, Derek Walcott won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992, and he has collaborated with the late Seamus Heaney and with Paul Simon. This new Selected Poems runs to over 600 pages and proves an excellent introduction.

  • A young student swept along by the 'rapids' of late adolescence and his torrid affair with a slightly older female student

    Rapids by Patrick Boltshauser

    Impressive European spin on the campus novel, whose protagonist is an impulsive botany student, swept along through the 'rapids' of his late adolescence.

  • Masked man: Donald Fagen's collection of essays recall his New Jersey and New York youth and the rigours of present-day touring.

    Eminent Hipsters by Donald Fagen

    Donald Fagen's compulsive memoir tracks a vibrant but demanding musical life, in which he still goes on tour to earn a living.

  • You are very quickly in there, and wanting to hear more about Bouillon

    Other People's Countries by Patrick McGuinness

    Patrick McGuinness's almost magical routes into the past and his keen awareness of memory's curious tricks make reading this newly-published memoir a warmly engaging experience.

  • Fanning's fascinating investigation into how violence and its threat dictated the course of a turbulent decade in Irish history

    Fatal Path by Ronan Fanning

    Ronan Fanning's Fatal Path: British Government and Irish Revolution 1910- 1922 brilliantly illuminates a turbulent 12 years, as violence moved centre stage, and democratic negotiation faltered.

  • There must be a Mickey Finn - no Philip Marlowe novel worth its salt should be without one

    The Black Eyed Blonde by Benjamin Black

    John Banville - writing as Benjamin Black - has assembled the necessary elements for an excellent Philip Marlowe adventure in The Black Eyed Blonde.

  • Clarice Lispector's The Hour of the Star: ". . . an ability to write as though no one had ever written before."

    Hour of the Star Clarice Lispector

    Clarice Lispector was born in the Ukraine in 1920 and died in Brazil at 57 years of age. Her last, 77-page novel tells the story of Macabéa, the poverty-stricken typist from the Brazilian North-East as she tries to live a life in Rio.

  • Listening to Bach: a frequently thrilling collection from the late, great Pearse Hutchinson.

    Listening to Bach Pearse Hutchinson

    The acclaimed poet and translator Pearse Hutchinson died in 2012, but he has left behind a book of poems of unusual grace and serenity.

  • If Ever You Go - Dublin: One City, One Book 2014.

    If Ever You Go - A Map of Dublin in Poetry & Song

    Edited by poets Pat Boran and Gerard Smyth, If Ever You Go is the choice for Dublin: One City, One Book 2014. The city is celebrated in poems and ballads from a host of different voices.