Open a book this minute and start reading. Don’t move until you’ve reached page fifty. Until you’ve buried your thoughts in print. Cover yourself with words. Wash yourself away. Dissolve. Carol Shields Republic of Love

Hodgepodge of Irish Bookishness

There’s some Irish in me and some on my bookshelves, too, but this March, with Reading Ireland hosted by Cathy at 746 Books and memories of reading Irish short stories with Mel at The Reading Life, I went for a library browse to add to the volumes I’d pulled from my shelves.

The first plucked were Kate O’Brien’s […]


Edna O’Brien’s The Love Object

In interview with Harriet Gilbert, when meeting to discuss her landmark work The Country Girls as part of the BBC’s World Book Club, Edna O’Brien speaks about the relationship in that novel between a young woman and a married man referred to as Mr. Gentleman.

Little, Brown and Company, 2015

Given the autobiographical nature of […]


Padma Viswanathan’s The Ever After of Ashwin Rao (2014)

The dedication to Padma Viswanathan’s second novel: For the lost, and for the living.

Random House of Canada, 2014

Therein, the reader haa a clue, for The Ever After of Ashwin Rao is equally preoccupied with losing and living.

The novel opens in 2004, on the precipice of the trial which was to address the 1985 fatal bombing […]


Anne Enright’s The Forgotten Waltz (2011)

If only the word ‘waltz’ appeared like a stain on the sheets — this would be the perfect cover image.

For now, Gina Moynihan stands back and looks at the bed that she and Seán Vallely shared, and it’s a messy sight. Messy, but still fresh: you can see the indents and folds in the fabrics.



Reading Jane Urquhart

A quick glance at my bookshelves and you would think that Jane Urquhart is one of my favourite authors.

I have all of her novels save one — a couple of hardcovers purchased new — but I have a habit of leaving them unfinished.

Nonetheless, the themes she pursues in her fiction are just the […]