Doppelganger: A Trip Into the Mirror World

‘Klein’s book also tells us that fear is a trap; what we cannot push away, into a shadow self, we must integrate instead, learning uncomfortable truths about ourselves in the process. What if we stop seeing the doppelganger as the enemy, and start thinking of them as a part of ourselves, gone rogue after years of being neglected and ignored?’

Criticism 13th June 2024

The Grind

‘Sensationalised TV dramas may seem to have cornered the mainstream market for depictions of the Dublin underclass Karl Parkinson writes about. But Parkinson’s underrated story collection provides a different window into this world, with stories that portray nihilistic violence and addiction as universal themes, best grasped through visionary poetry and myth.’

Criticism 8th May 2024

Irish poetry 2023: vanishing point. / Woman of Winter / Fare Thee Well, Miss Carousel / It Reeks of Radio

'The four Irish books I have chosen from last year reminded me, in different ways, that what we say is always tied to where and when we say it.'

Criticism 11th April 2024

The Maniac

'In this respect, The Maniac is as much about the present as the past [...] Von Neumann’s delusions, filtered kaleidoscopically via the imagined reminiscences of those who knew him, prefigure the madcap fantasies of today’s transhumanists, accelerationists and techno-optimists.'

Criticism 19th March 2024

Nomenclature: New and Collected Poems

‘If Nomenclature, principally comprised of Brand’s previous collections, is fundamentally a recollection of things past, it is also a timely reiteration of the need for different futures.’

Criticism 16th January 2024

Soldier Sailor and Milk: On Motherhood and Madness

‘Their anti-Wild Women narrators yearn to return to society, to recover full citizenship there. They are aware that they had something once, and that they have lost it.’

Criticism 30th November 2023

Y/N and Sea Change

New fiction explores existential longing with K-pop and cephalopods.

Criticism 25th October 2023

Ordinary Notes

‘With this strikingly intimate approach, we are invited into Sharpe’s project of sifting through the frustrations, the injustices, ‘the wake’ of Black life in order to better spend time with the beauty of Blackness, to explore the quiet of Black interiority that so often goes ignored or unremarked.’

Criticism 27th September 2023

The Bee Sting

‘The contemporary novel form appears, increasingly, to be the domain of slim, introspective works. The appearance of a sprawling novel like The Bee Sting seems significant.’

Criticism 30th August 2023

Wolfish: The stories we tell about fear, ferocity, and freedom

‘How is it that while real wolf populations have receded, two-legged ‘wolves’ proliferate? What is the connection between these living, breathing creatures and the popular, metaphorical, and imaginary uses we give them?’

Criticism 27th July 2023

Greek Lessons

‘Greek Lessons is a puzzle... I’m unable to decide whether some truth about language has been excavated in the book—but also whether that was ever the point.’

Criticism 8th June 2023

Still Pictures: On Photography and Memory

‘Janet Malcolm wasn’t so much a critic as a journalist, an actual journalist—by which I mean, an investigative reporter—who rang people up or met them in person, composed and asked questions, took notes, owned one Dictaphone at least.’

Criticism 5th April 2023

God’s Teeth and Other Phenomena

‘It is hard to think, that’s Kelman’s point, but you have to. Your freedom depends on it. The problem is that when you start to think, which is usually when the bad stuff starts to happen, when you fuck up or you get fucked, and who can say which comes first, you realise that the words you use to think are not your own, they have been shoved down your throat. You have to learn to think for yourself. In your own terms.’

Criticism 23rd February 2023

A Guest at the Feast

In this fine set of essays, Colm Tóibín's ebullience and intelligence is consistently apparent.

Criticism 8th February 2023

The Netanyahus

‘One requires only a few moments in the Cohenverse to grasp that here is perhaps the only person in the world with the discipline, intelligence, and voracity to render even the most exacting of inner critics speechless.’

Criticism 25th January 2023

Online essays and criticism 2022

Contributors: Dizz Tate, Olivia Fitzsimons, Danielle McLaughlin, Jill Crawford, Neil Hegarty, Angelique Tran Van Sang, Anna Walsh, Mia Gallagher, Thomas Morris, Kevin Power, Niamh Campbell, Ian Maleney, John Patrick McHugh, Mary Morrissy, Tadhg Hoey, Susannah Dickey, Sean O'Reilly

Criticism Essay 6th January 2023

Negative Space

‘Negative Space is a memoir of sorts, a record of a time of life and its catastrophes, but its main concern is contemporary art. Or, rather, the embodying of those spirits and effluents given off by art.’

Criticism 8th December 2022

Yoga

‘His pain is made approachable, relatable, interesting—whatever else he may be, Carrère is always good company.’

Criticism 23rd November 2022

Chilean Poet

‘What to write about a new work that does not entirely excite or thrill, from one of the most exciting and thrilling writers of the last ten, twenty years?’

Criticism 8th June 2022

Trespasses

Louise Kennedy's mordant debut novel is visceral, powerful, and full of compassion.

Criticism 20th April 2022

The Trees

In an oeuvre of funny and, at times, caustically angry books, 'The Trees' might be Percival Everett’s funniest and angriest yet.

Criticism 30th March 2022

Send Nudes

Saba Sams's vibrant collection explores the narratives we construct for ourselves—and the narratives others construct for us.

Criticism 16th March 2022

Butcher’s Dozen

Sean O'Reilly on the reissue of Thomas Kinsella's ‘Butcher's Dozen’ to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday: “a timely reminder that the past has to be fought for and poetry is not beyond lending a hand.”

Criticism Essay 25th January 2022

Hyena! Jackal! Dog!

Fran Lock's latest collection is a multivocal hybrid affected by grief, longing, rage, abjection.

Criticism 1st December 2021

A Shock

In Keith Ridgway's luminous new novel, the economic circumstances of his characters infect their confidence, their relationships, their self worth. They own nothing—not even their own stories.

Criticism 15th November 2021

Normal Sheeple

"We love Ross O'Carroll-Kelly! Should we?" — Kevin Power considers the evolving fates and functions of the Ross O'Caroll Kelly novels, which to date have sold over a million copies.

Criticism 30th October 2021

Gold Light Shining

Bebe Ashley's debut poetry collection "is an ambitious meditation on music, fandom, projection, and yes, Harry Styles".

Criticism 30th September 2021

Keeping the House

Lisa McInerney finds many wonders in Tice Cin's transgressive debut novel which "dodges the usual rules of storytelling".

Criticism 16th September 2021

Acts of Desperation

As an "informal experiment", Kevin Power examines Megan Nolan's debut novel – and its reviews – and reflects on the purpose and meaning of literary criticism.

Criticism 23rd June 2021

The Ballad of Lord Edward and Citizen Small 

In Neil Jordan's new novel, the author invents the psyche of an enslaved Black person, "a task as ambitious as it is awkward for a white man to do".

Criticism 12th May 2021

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