Home News TV Listings Movies Music Video Photos Radio Book Club Life & Style

Book Reviews

Barnes on art: benignly perceptive as in the best of his (mostly) wonderful work to date

Julian Barnes Keeping an Eye Open

This new collection from the amiable Francophile gathers his various writings through the years on art. It's chatty, benignly perceptive and has well-presented reproductions of the paintings under consideration.

  • Poems and photographs of Bull Island in all its stark beauty.

    Pat Boran: Waveforms Bull Island Haiku

    This 120-page, pocket-size excursion around Bull Island is Pat Boran's homage in Haiku and photographs to the airy, aqueous spirit of that special place.

  • The Girl Missing From the Window: brave confrontation with contemporary Irish realities

    Paul O'Reilly The Girl Missing From the Window

    The Girl Missing From The Window is often topical in its small town scenarios, yet the collection transcends topicality with style and mastery, as it delves deep into utterly convincing human stories.

  • A neglected gem whose essential sentiment could apply to many wars and many a soldier home on leave

    Daniel Anselme On Leave

    First published in French as La Permission, On Leave appeared at the height of the Franco-Algerian war in 1957. The story concerns three soldiers back in Paris on leave. It's like Hemingway with the gaps filled in and it is a masterpiece.

  • In The Beginning Was The Sea is baleful in tone and captivating to read but there are some infelicities within its relatively short 154 pages.

    In The Beginning Was The Sea Tomás González

    In The Beginning Was The Sea by the Colombian author Tomás González was first published in Spanish in 1983. The unsettling tale is shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2015, the winner of which will be announced on May 27.

  • Elizabeth Bishop, Pulitzer Prize -winning poet and Poet Laureate of the United States, 1949-1950.

    Colm Tóibín - On Elizabeth Bishop

    The Irish writer Colm Tóibín has had a long fascination with the American poet Elizabeth Bishop whose poems he discovered in the 1970s. Bishop's careful, watchful style has clearly influenced the form and tone of Tóibín's own writing.

  • Eamonn Wall: his best poems work through mesmeric, delicately-figured images

    Junction City New & Selected Poems Eamonn Wall

    Eamonn Wall has resided in various cities of the United States since 1982 and his Irish accent bears traces of disparate influences. This new selection of verse (1990 to 2015) reveals a highly-gifted poet.

  • Andrew Fox: expert on both sides of the Atlantic pond

    Over Our Heads Andrew Fox

    The young Irish writer Andrew Fox (born Dublin 1985) now resides in New York and his first collection crackles with tales from both sides of the ocean. Paddy Kehoe welcomes this sparkling, incisive debut.

  • The late Tomas Tranströmer - a Swedish visionary.

    Inspired Notes Tomas Tranströmer

    The late Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer won the Nobel prize for Literature in 2011, the citation referring to his "condensed, translucent images" which give us "fresh access to reality." Read him and learn his faltering way to enlightenment.

  • Paul Durcan: His poem, Making Love Outside Áras an Uachtaráin featured on the recent A Poem for Ireland shortlist.

    The Days of Surprise by Paul Durcan

    A Paul Durcan poem featured on the recent shortlist for A Poem For Ireland, itself a measure of his immense popularity in this country. The poet's ever-changing moods range from devastating social satire, madcap comedy, elegy to sometimes a wry outrage.

  • Hitler's First Victims by Timothy W Ryback

    On April 13, 1933, deputy prosecutor Josef Hartinger was summoned to Dachau concentration camp where four prisoners had just been shot. SS guards insisted that the men had attempted escape. But Hartinger sensed that far more sinister plans were afoot.

  • The History of Western Philosophy in 100 Haiku

    The History of Western Philosophy in 100 Haiku by Haris Vlavianos is translated from the Greek by Peter Mackridge.

  • Conflict and casualties: a riveting account of the Sri Lankan Civil War

    This Divided Island - Samanth Subramanian

    Samanth Subramanian's just-published 318-page book is a compelling account of the Sri Lankan civil war which ended in 2009.The book also deals with the catastrophic effects of the 2004 tsunami in which 30,000 Sri Lankans lost their lives.

  • The diabolical chaos of the Polish-Soviet War of 1919-1920 is vividly rendered in Babel's short stories.

    Red Cavalry by Isaac Babel

    Reading these anarchic tales from the front is like M*A*S*H without the scripted comedy. Isaac Babel (1894-1940) was a news correspondent with the Red Army who was murdered in Stalin's purges in 1940, at the age of 45.

  • The great harvest, from Pushkin to Akhmatova, Brodsky and beyond.

    The Penguin Book of Russian Poetry

    Russia's rich poetic heritage is revived brilliantly in English in the new anthology from Penguin Classics.