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Book Reviews

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.

  • There was everybody else - and then there was Geoffrey Hill.

    Broken Hierarchies Poems 1952-2012 Geoffrey Hill

    Geoffrey Hill is often deemed to be the most important poet working in English today, despite work that is often deemed to be difficult. This new collection collects 21 books of his poems to date.

  • Shift - now in its fourth edition, the skinny on getting started with your own writing.

    The Portable Creative Writing Workshop Pat Boran

    The unmessy ends of kitchen tables have already benefited from three previous editions of Shift, a useful guide for writers, aspirant and otherwise. This fourth edition has advice on how to go about getting published.

  • The Spain project began to show signs of viable life when Ferdinand of Aragon married Isabella  of Castille in 1496

    Imperial Spain 1469-1716 by JH Elliott

    There are over 1.3 million visits from Ireland to Spain every year, and it's our number one international destination. For history buffs, Elliott's book is the perfect introduction to the years of empire.

  • The 1970s: the heyday of Thin Lizzy Rory Gallagher and the Boomtown Rats, but Dana and Brendan Shine also reigned supreme. Ferriter does not exclude the culture, music and sport in his vast account.

    Ambiguous Republic by Diarmaid Ferriter

    Questions first raised in the 1970s cast a long shadow that the Irish Republic continues to live under, argues Diarmaid Ferriter in his 800-page history of a pivotal decade.

  • Thomas Kinsella: we discovered him at school in Soundings, and his work continues to fascinate, as Late Poems reveals in 90 pages.

    Late Poems by Thomas Kinsella

    Many of us first came to know the poems of Thomas Kinsella at school as we delved into Soundings to study Another September and Mirror in February. The poet deserves revisiting and close attention, particularly in these Late Poems.

  • Sales Gomes has been compared to Vladimir Nabokov and to the early Philip Roth

    P's 3 Women by Paulo Emilio Sales Gomes

    An elderly eccentric recalls his decidedly odd relationships with three different women at various stages in his life in this picaresque, oddball novel, originally published in Portuguese in 1977.

  • The next case feels make or break for the character

    The Double by George Pelecanos

    Like all Pelecanos heroes, Spero Lucas has plenty of depth and charisma, but he is let down here by his love interest, his nemesis and the showdowns involving each.

  • Deirdre Unforgiven marries ancient myth and recent troubled times

    Deirdre Unforgiven by Eamon Carr

    Eamon Carr may be fixated by the power of ancient myth, but working in the North as a journalist 20 years ago opened his eyes to parallels between ancient Ulster and the Troubles of the recent past.

  • If you like Richard Ford, then you will very likely take to the work of this veteran writer whose fiction has been translated into twenty languages.

    A Permanent Member of The Family by Russell Banks

    Russell Banks' fascinatingly perceptive stories crackle in the bright snow of up-state New York, or work out their tragedies and disappointments in the sun and seedy glamour of Miami.

  • CP Cavafy: many of his poems read as though he were taking the reader aside to share his observations.

    Complete Poems CP Cavafy, trans Daniel Mendelsohn

    Constantin Cavafy (1863-1933) is one of the most referenced poets in the world today. Leonard Cohen's song, Alexandra Leaving, was written as a free adaptation of a Cavafy poem, and the poem Ithaca was read at the funeral of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

  • Fire in the Hall: backwoods Missouri and the repercussions following a dance hall fire of 1928 are the matter of Daniel Woodrell's skillful story

    The Maid's Version by Daniel Woodrell

    On the night of April 13, 1928 a mysterious explosion occurred in a dance hall, in the Missouri city of West Plains. Author Daniel Woodrell has fashioned a compulsive fictional account from the bare bones of that night's events, in his latest novel.

  • Mum's Baking Book

    Mum's Baking Book

    Baking with your kids is messy, time-consuming, patience-testing and as Catherine Fulvio says in the book's foreward, creates some of the best memories and giggles you could share.