REVIEW: The Irish Times reviews GRATTAN AND ME

“…quintessentially Irish and a spectacular riot of a read.”

Read the full review online at The Irish Times.

REVIEW: The Complete Review on I’M AN OLD COMMIE!

“I’m an Old Commie! is a genial little novel, offering a good glimpse of life in communist Romania, as well as being a plausible case-study of the toll on a representative individual as the radical transition to would-be capitalist would-be democracy takes place.”

Read the rest of Michael Orthofer’s thoughts online at the Complete Review

REVIEW: The Irish Times reviews BEST EUROPEAN FICTION 2017

This is the eighth in the annual series of European fiction in translation. The standard ranges from very good to so-so, with narrative approaches ranging from the traditional to the experimental. Czech writer Jiri Hajicek’s Lion Cubs is mainly a dialogue between the coach of a junior soccer team and a teacher in a girls’ nursing school regarding an overnight encounter between a nursing student and a player. It gives interesting insights into the differing male and female perspectives, and the clever ending confirms much of the teacher’s suspicions. Belgian-French Stéphane Lambert’s The Two Writers is a bittersweet story of a lost opportunity for love. Danish writer Ida Jessen’s Postcard to Annie has at its heart a possible suicide and the reaction of witnesses, especially the narrator – a fascinating narrative with various unexpected twists. In Daithí Ó Muirí’s Duran (translated from the Irish by the author), a worshipping child narrator tells of the charming eponymous character, who is a ruthless killer.

The Irish Times

The Irish Times: Tom O’Neill discusses the inspiration behind his novel, GRATTAN AND ME

I was asked where Grattan and Me came from. I still have to think about that a bit. The writing influences are many. … I took the liberty of adding a couple of extra layers. Narrator, foreword writer, inner editor, and others all have their say and give extra voices to bounce around in, each very sound and reliable only in small parts.

But I’m still left with where the actual stuff of this book comes from.

Read the full article online at the Irish Times.

GRATTAN AND ME will be launched this evening, Friday, January 27th, at 7pm, by publisher John O’Brien in the Clubhouse Hotel, Patrick Street, Kilkenny.

Harry Mathews (1930-2017)

 

Harry Mathews, the author, poet, and translator, passed away yesterday in Key West, Florida, at the age of eighty-six. He is survived by his two children and his wife, the novelist Marie Chaix.

Mathews was born in New York City and later attended Princeton University until a tour in the Navy interrupted his studies. While in the Navy, he eloped with the artist Niki de Saint Phalle, with whom he was to have two children. After his service was completed, Mathews transferred to Harvard University in 1950 and graduated in 1952 with a B.A. in music. He moved with his family to France and then to Majorca before returning to Paris in 1956. During his time in Europe, Mathews decided to not pursue a career in music but instead to focus on writing. Mathews separated from his wife in 1960.

In the early 1960’s, Mathews founded the influential literary journal, Locus Scolus, with John Ashbery, Kenneth Koch, and James Schuyler. He served as editor at the journal and also began contributing to the Paris Review during this time. In 1962, his first novel, The Conversions, was published and subsequent novels includeed Tlooth in 1966, The Sinking of the Odradek Stadium in 1972, Cigarettes in 1987, and My Life in CIA in 2005, all of which are available from Dalkey Archive Press.

Mathews was a member of Oulipo, the avant-garde French literary society whose other members included Raymond Queneau, Italo Calvino, Jacques Roubaud, and George Perec (whom Mathews also translated). Mathews’s honors also include a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In later life, Mathews spent portions of each year in New York, Paris, and Key West with his wife, Marie Chaix.

While Mathews was known for technical sophistication, there was more to his writing. The critic Barry Schwabsky wrote in the Times Literary Supplement that Mathews’ “writing is imbued with a childlike sense of wonder at both language and the world it can conjure, though always tinged with poignancy, with the transience of both words and things.”

Or, as Mathews said in an interview with John Ashberry in the Review of Contemporary Fiction:

“I think that what matters in writing, as in music, is what’s going on between the words (and between the notes); the movement is what matters, rather than whatever is being said. I like very much what the English composer Birtwhistle—is that his name?—said about his pieces. He said you could change all the notes in it and it would still be the same piece. That really rang a bell when I read it because it could be said about not only my own work but written work in general. What matters is the process and not the substance that the process is using.”

We wish to offer condolences to the family, friends, and fans of Harry Mathews, who will be sorely missed.

COLLECTED PLAYS and WRITING THE SKY in the TLS

On COLLECTED PLAYS:

“But Healy’s ear for colloquial catchphrases is spot-on, whether it is unemployed Irish labourers in London, teenagers at a disco in Crossmolina, or young offenders exchanging repartee from separate prison cells. He conveys a zest for the robust, indeed, but at the same time Healy is susceptible to sensation in its most delicate form.”

On WRITING THE SKY:

“One half . . . is given over to a suite of reminiscences, some restrained, some illuminating, some running riot all over the page. All make for interesting reading.”

 

“How Does a Korean Debate Capitalism vs. Communism?” – THE SQUARE featured in Emerson College’s Plougshares blog

Grappling with subjects like patriotism, Christianity, and Communism, the novel tells the tale of how a disenfranchised Korean POW ended up on a ship named the Tagore, headed to a “neutral” country that’s likely India. It’s told mostly in flashback from the perspective of the POW. This classic, award-winning book is considered by many to have kicked off Korean War literature.

Read the rest of Nichole L. Reber’s post at Ploughshares.

Full Stop launches first issue of Reviews Supplement

On January 18, Full Stop (www.full-stop.net) launched the first issue of the Full Stop Reviews Supplement, which includes prior reviews of Dalkey titles JOHANNE, JOHANNE by Lars Sidenius and RINA by Kang Young-Sook.

From Full Stop:

The Supplement is meant to serve as a guide to contemporary literature that goes way beyond the typical “best of” list by providing a foray into what we think is some of the most interesting, innovative, long-form literary reviewing going on online–at least in our corner of the web. Through this project, we hope to continue our support of the work of critics, small presses and the aesthetically, linguistically, and socially marginalized communities of writers they represent.

View the introduction to the first issue here.

The first issue is available for download, for an optional donation.