New Island, €17.99
Dublin-based writer Christine Dwyer Hickey received wide acclaim for 'Tatty', her novel of dysfunctional family life. A place on the longlist of the 2005 Orange Prize ensured that there would be new interest in what this talented writer had already produced. 'Tatty' was Dwyer Hickey's fourth novel; it was preceded by The Dublin Trilogy, which is now being reissued by New Island.
'The Dancer', originally published in 1995 and shortlisted for the Listowel Writers' Week Book of the Year, is the first book in the historical trilogy. Set in 1918, it focuses on three siblings - sisters Kate and Maude and their younger brother, who is the eponymous dancer. But there is a fourth character - Dublin itself - and 'The Dancer' is a lovers' paean to the topography of the city in that era.
Impressionistic and dreamy, 'The Dancer' treads lightly through the Dublin of another century, telling its story of cruelty and love, intrigue and loss with Dwyer Hickey's trademark eye for detail and sparse dialogue. While not as immediate as 'Tatty', 'The Dancer' is an impressive opening act for the trilogy. Watch out for future reissues 'The Gambler' and 'The Gatemaker'.