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


‘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


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

Can’t Get You Out Of My Head: An Emotional History of the Modern World

To sit through Adam Curtis's latest offering is to experience a work of art that is alternately lush, oneiric, austere, startling, thrilling, amusing, persuasive, shocking, glib, beautiful.

Criticism 15th April 2021

We Are Not In The World

Conor O'Callaghan's "propulsive" novel is about the process of coming to see—coming to understand—the recent past.

Criticism 31st March 2021

That Old Country Music

If a Kevin Barry character declares themselves a romantic, they’re generally headed for trouble.

Criticism 10th March 2021

Small Axe

Steve McQueen’s films are steeped in the political, and in the complicated humanity and inhumanity of ordinary people pushed to the extraordinary.

Criticism 24th February 2021

Mantel Pieces

To watch Hilary Mantel go to work on the world is one of contemporary literature’s unalloyed pleasures.

Criticism 10th February 2021

Washing Up

Derek Mahon's collection is the culmination of a life dedicated to language, the final word from an extraordinary talent.

Criticism 21st January 2021

A Ghost In The Throat

Doireann Ní Ghríofa's 'exhilarating' prose debut investigates the inherited script of motherhood and the occluded history of Eibhlín Dubh Ní Chonnaill.

Criticism 25th November 2020

Just Us: An American Conversation

In her latest exploration of racial imaginaries in the US, Claudia Rankine stresses the importance of difficult conversations in the face of racist state violence.

Criticism 10th November 2020

How To Hex Things With Words

Caitlín Doherty follows some mystical threads through recent occult-inspired poetry and publishing.

Criticism 30th October 2020


Emma Cline's exquisitely detailed work of social observation falls back on familiar tropes, allowing some characters more complexity than others.

Criticism 23rd October 2020

simmering of a declarative void

Robert Kiely's debut collection is a brilliant and urgently contemporary appeal to the reader.

Criticism 9th September 2020

Breasts and Eggs

Mieko Kawakami's latest is a novel of uncertainty, absence, and bodily obsession.

Criticism 27th August 2020



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