‘The Sparsholt Affair’ by Alan Hollinghurst is his first book since 2011’s ‘The Stranger’s Child’ and his sixth overall. Having won the Man Booker Prize for his masterpiece ‘The Line of Beauty ‘ in 2005 the expectations every time he releases a book are high. His books are about the lives of gay men, but such is the beauty and power of his writing, they transcend that limiting categorization, and get placed in the General Fiction section of the bookshop. Continue reading Bookworm: ‘The Sparsholt Affair’ by Alan Hollinghurst
Currently in preview at the Gate Theatre is the stage adaptation of Roddy Doyle’s book ‘The Snapper’. The official opening is on Wednesday 20th June. Theatrical etiquette rules that reviewers don’t review plays until opening night. Preview shows are intended to allow the director and the cast to iron out any last minute issues with the play. I am going to ignore that rule – for the simple reason that I paid full whack for my preview ticket (no freebies for regular audience members). As the show I saw, was the fourth preview performance, if they are not about 99% stage ready by this point then they never will be. Continue reading Theatrical: ‘The Snapper’ at the Gate
At the age of twelve, I read ‘Cat among the pigeons’ by Agatha Christie. It was the first novel of hers that I’d read. It introduced me to the character of Hercule Poirot – the portly, eggheaded Belgian detective – whose favourite tipple is sirop de cassis – who travels the world, solving murders committed by the rich and infamous. Continue reading Bookworm: ‘After the funeral’ by Agatha Christie
The weekend passed in a blur. I was reading a very long book.
‘World without end’ by Ken Follett weighed in at a mighty 1,237 pages. I started this about four weeks ago with a slight feeling of dread. Books of this length can be dangerous.
As I am the type of person who will nearly always finish a book once I have started it, tomes like these are threatening. What if it is absolute gash, yet I don’t find this out until three hundred pages in? That’s a long and lonely nine hundred pages left to go. Continue reading Bookworm: ‘World without end’ by Ken Follett
‘Days without end’ by Sebastian Barry is his latest tale in a series of books about the McNulty family of Sligo. Set over various centuries on different continents these books examine various people in different generations of one family, and how they fare in the world. ‘The Temporary Gentleman’ was about Jack McNulty – working for the UN in Ghana in 1957, as he remembers his ruinous marriage to his fellow alcoholic Mai Kirwan (you can read my take on that book HERE… ) Continue reading Bookworm: ‘Days without end’ by Sebastian Barry
Bloomsday may not be a major event on the holiday or event calendars for most people, but it’s an absolutely genius and deeply Irish day. I can’t think of a better idea than to take a date – in this case June 16th – and to turn it into a day long celebration, for a character from a work of fiction. Continue reading Blooming marvelous
I have a gig on Friday with a band. The fact that I am unable to play a musical instrument, and possess a singing voice that sounds like a bag of cats in a blender (a metaphorical blender – I love cats and would never knowingly cause a moment of distress to one of those classy creatures) is entirely irrelevant. My services were requested, so I graciously accepted. I have been asked to perform to honour the works of Mr. James Joyce. Continue reading Bloomsday: James Joyce Day, June 16th
Some months ago I started reading the book ‘The thing about December’ by Donal Ryan. I put it to one side in the run-up to, the duration and aftermath of the theatre festival. On my recent weekend in Lisbon it accompanied me. Continue reading Bookworm: ‘The thing about December’
When I returned to Ireland at the end of 2015, I bid farewell to my book collection. This was one of the most heartbreaking parts of leaving Amsterdam. It was a collection that had been lovingly built up over decades. Comprising of books purchased in Dublin late last century when I lived there – these had been transported at my employer’s expense when I moved to the Land Below the Sea at the turn of the century – right up to the moment of departure, There were hundreds of books involved. Continue reading The bookshelf of doom: ‘A place called Winter’
This is both a statement of fact, and the title of a book of short stories by Wexford writer Frank Ronan which was published in the 1990s. Continue reading Handsome men are slightly sunburnt