Archive for the ‘ Book Reviews ’ Category

Gabriel García Márquez and William Shakespeare: A Celebration


In a week that has seen the passing of Colombia’s greatest writer we also see the four hundred and fiftieth anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth (or three hundred and ninety eight year of his death if you trust the sources). Both men used their creative skills to explore human nature, and while the passing of a Nobel Laureate will be mourned as much as Shakespeare’s birthday will be celebrated this month, it is an opportunity to be grateful that we had such luminaries at all.

In his most critically celebrated work One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez managed to convey the pressure and strain of a whole continent recovering from colonial rule. In the same way that Shakespeare’s Henry V managed to embed a sub text of humanity and compassion into a story about bloody conquest, García Márquez was able to hide the whole world in his dusty village that the Buendia’s called home. There is a literary device known as metonymy, where a thing or group is identified by something associated with it. A common example is ‘crown’ to refer to the monarchy but a more fitting one here maybe the way ‘the stage’ can often refer to the whole of theatre and beyond. Metonymy is not unique to literature, we most often use it in our everyday speech, but it is in the hands of artists like Márquez and Shakespeare that it becomes most potent. Both writers could afford to generalise in the same way an artist like Jack B. Yeats could afford broad knife and brush strokes. They built worlds out of concrete themes like jealousy, love and loneliness and then deftly explored them and in doing that exposed a little of the great mystery of the human soul. Continue reading

The Spinning Heart By Donal Ryan-A Brief Introduction

donalryanThe Spinning Heart is Donal Ryan’s first published novel. Set in a small town in rural Ireland circa 2010, it gives voice to the confusion and uncertainty felt by twenty one different characters in a period of great upheaval in their lives. In many ways, the book is a fictional chronicle of the living present as it delves deep into the people and place it aims to describe.

As the reader of these stories you may feel like the local parish priest sitting in a confession box, or a therapist with a notepad on your lap, as it is unclear who the characters are speaking to. Either way, you will discover the innermost thoughts of a variety of characters yet find they are not all too dissimilar from each other. Bobby Mahon can’t “find the words” to talk to his wife. Réaltín tries to hide her “lonely life”. Brian doesn’t want to be the “tragic figure” of an unemployed young man going abroad. They are all caught in a difficult time in their life and are always regretting the past and looking to the future. Continue reading

Why Ross Is Still The Boss, Roysh.


Ross O’Carroll Kelly has entertained us for so long now, so what better way to spread some festive cheer by charting some of his most memorable quotes. There’s a few Christmas crackers in here.

I end up letting her believe we’re, like, an item, but I tell her that if we’re going to, like, give this thing a proper crack, we’re going to have to be PONPA for the time being, as in Private Only, No Public Appearances, just because of all the pressure that’s going to come on us from all sides, bullshit bullshit bullshit. I don’t know how I keep a straight face sometimes She was pretty alroysh looking, I have to say, went out three or four times and got on fine, until this one particular day, roysh, when we were driving back to her gaff after being at the cinema and she said those dreaded words: I don’t believe in sex before marriage. I basically told her to get the fock out of the cor. Don’t get me wrong, roysh, I pulled over first. She was there, Ross, I live miles from here.? And I was loike, There’s a bus stop over there. Use it. Continue reading

Parent Taming: A Tot’s Eye View Of The Formative Years

parent taming

Parent Taming is a parenting manual with a fairly significant and not-so-subtle difference; it’s written entirely from a child’s perspective. And what a child. Ryan James Stickebachher is a self-styled baby guru and, indeed, guru baby. His opinion? “When you’re a baby you gotta rely on your household staff to get you everything you want. The problem is, they think they know better than you. So you gotta break ‘em in.” And in Parent Taming – The Several Habits of Highly Successful Babies: 0-2 the Early Years, Ryan shares his secret techniques about how to do just that. Continue reading

One Of A Kind : Living With Lupus Launches On Friday

BK Cover

A unique book depicting firsthand accounts of how people struggle to live with a killer autoimmune disease will be launched on November 8th .

Living With Lupus is a collection of stories compiled and edited by Irish News Review editor Glenn Dowd on behalf of Lupus Group Ireland.

The book contains twenty stories, all of which are written by Lupus sufferers. Each story tells a tale of a daily battle to overcome everything their illness throws at them. Long hospital stays , failings of the healthcare system and ultimately death are portrayed in these stories, with some family adding their input to show the struggle their loved ones continue to battle. Continue reading

Forgotten Side Of Society To Be Examined In New Book


Artists Daniel Barter and Daniel Marbaix have collaborated to produce a photo-essay that has urban exploration – or Urbex – at its heart. Urbex is an artistic concept that focuses on the exploration of architectural structures – sometimes derelict buildings, sometimes unfamiliar aspects of other man-made buildings. Their book, “States of Decay”, journeys through forgotten hotels, desolate transport hubs, abandoned asylums, derelict houses of worship and industrial monoliths to tell a fascinatingly atmospheric story. Continue reading

Book Review: Pandemonium (Delirium #2)

paFollowing the devastating cliffhanger at the end of Delirium, Lauren Oliver returns with the eagerly anticipated sequel Pandemonium which surges the story forward and shows two polarized worlds on the brink of revolution.

This books switches between “Then” and “Now” conveying Lena’s story after she escaped past the barrier and into The Wilds at the end of Delirium.

The “Then” chapters focus on Lena’s arrival in The Wilds, where she is nurtured back to health by Raven and her group of Invalids – that is, those that are “uncured” or infected by the disease of love – and forced to reach deep within herself and call upon her inner survivalist in order to stay alive. The Wilds are wholly different to the world she once knew and she struggles on a daily basis with the thoughts of never seeing her family, her best friend Hana, or her lover Alex again. But to keep her momentum and hope alive, she settles on the fact that this is what she and Alex wanted: freedom; the option to make her own decisions and decide her own path. However, she soon comes to realize that her ideal of freedom is much more warped than she ever could imagine and life in The Wilds is not as perfect as she once thought it to be. Continue reading

Book Review: Delirium

Though the number of dystopian novels is on the rise, Lauren Oliver’s Delirium breaks through the mould and redefines itself as a love story first and foremost set to a dystopian background. The world in which Delirium is set plays its formidable part in the story but underneath that world lays burning questions about love and how it is perceived in the real world, away from fiction.

‘It has been sixty-four years since the president and the Consortium identified love as a disease, and forty-three since the scientists perfected the cure’ is the opening line of this book and immediately thrusts us into the world of Delirium. To the people of this world, love – or amor deliria nervosa as it is known – is something that needs to be eradicated. It is a danger that causes chaos, instability and ultimately, death. Continue reading

Celtic Knights Issue 3 Leaves Heroes On Brink

 Stephen Coffey’s Celtic Knights is back for a third edition having garnered much interest among the Irish comic book faithful. Prepare to be dazzled once again by the artwork of Mike Kennedy.

The comic resumes in the third part of the four pronged The Best of What’s Left series.

Issue One began with a bang when Commanding Officer General Quentin Blake of the Mega Human Headquarters discovered that 90% of the world’s superhero population had been eliminated from the face of the earth by a villain known as The Broker. Continue reading

Fingers – The Man Behind The Money

Fingers full final cover

What happens when one of Ireland’s most powerful bankers doles out huge sums of money, in the form of unsecured loans, to a golden circle of developers and politicians, eventually running into billions and causing Irish Nationwide building society to collapse in its own filth? You give him €1 million in bonus money, an €11,500 watch and send him smiling out the door, of course.

Continue reading