Book review: Ulysses, by James Joyce, 1922

“Every life is in many days, day after day. We walk through ourselves, meeting robbers, ghosts, giants, old men, young men, wives, widows, brothers-in-love, but always meeting ourselves.” ‘Ulysses’ was a hard read, 933 pages of complex, allusive text, full of echoes, references, challenges and puzzles. Reading this novel passively, without paying full attention, isContinue reading “Book review: Ulysses, by James Joyce, 1922”

Book review: The Third Policeman, by Flann O’Brien, 1940

“Is it about a bicycle?” This wonderful novel has an interesting history. Written between 1939 and 1940, immediately after At Swim-Two-Birds, it was declined by O’Brien’s (English) publisher, Longmans, who said that “we realise the author’s ability but think that he should become less fantastic, and in this new novel he is more so.” InsteadContinue reading “Book review: The Third Policeman, by Flann O’Brien, 1940”

Book review: Amongst Women by John McGahern, 1991

Michael Moran, the patriarch at the heart of this novel, is a depressing misanthropic monster. He abuses his children, terrorises his wife, and attempts (ultimately unsuccessfully) to control every aspect of their lives, all the while ensuring that his interests and comforts are catered for: “Anything easy and pleasant aroused deep suspicion and people enjoyingContinue reading “Book review: Amongst Women by John McGahern, 1991”

Book review: At Swim-Two-Birds, by Flann O’Brien – 1939

‘At Swim-Two-Birds‘ is quite unlike any other novel I have ever read. On the whole that is a good thing, but it also means that it can be a challenging, almost impossible read. Let’s start with a plot summary, which I have borrowed direct from Wikipedia: At Swim-Two-Birds presents itself as a first-person story byContinue reading “Book review: At Swim-Two-Birds, by Flann O’Brien – 1939”

Book review: Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle, 1993

Winner of the Booker Prize in 1993 I made a sincere effort to read as many of the Booker Prize winners as could reasonably be expected earlier this year (see a number of reviews) – but the award of this year’s Booker to Hilary Mantel for Bring Out the Bodies, the sequel to the 2009Continue reading “Book review: Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle, 1993”