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Read about WALKING ON RIPPLES in The Irish Times here.

david-murphy

The 77th World Science Fiction Convention is hurtling towards us at great speed! The event rolls into town in a couple of weeks – but you wouldn’t know, the build-up in the Irish media has been so low-key as to be non-existent. Worldcon runs from Aug 15-19 in the Convention Centre on Dublin’s quays. The plan is to bump into a few old and new friends and acquaintances in the dealers’ room and, of course, to hover in the Convention Centre bar afterwards, trying manfully to keep pace with the drinking habits of the usual suspects. See you all there!

 

Two excellent novels strayed across my frayed and frazzled headspace recently – Anna Burns’ Man Booker-winning MILKMAN, an absorbing story set in Belfast in the nineteen seventies. It’s classed by many people as a ‘difficult’ read full of long sentences peopled with characters that remain unnamed throughout, set in paragraphs that go on for perhaps three or four pages. MILKMAN is oddball, stream of consciousness writing that is well worth persevering with. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Followed this with Martin Amis’ most recent novel THE ZONE OF INTEREST. For reasons unfathomable to me, it seems fashionable to dismiss Amis as a writer critics love to hate. I can find no reason to criticise – or hate – him for THE ZONE OF INTEREST. Quite simply, this is the finest and truest novel about war I have ever read; a compelling and moving tale about the Holocaust told through the voices of several Nazis and a Jew. Put this (and the Burns book) on your bucket list.

 

The poem Bolivia, prizewinner at Dublin’s Red Line Book Festival last October, will be included in the upcoming issue of Poetry Ireland Review due out later this year. Editor Eavan Boland emailed me the good news yesterday. Great to have a poem in such a fine publication – and good to see that Bolivia will finally make it into print.

 

Read a few interesting works of fiction and non-fiction lately, including Marcus Connaughton’s absorbing biography of Rory Gallagher, and Mark Adams’ brilliant TURN RIGHT AT MACHU PICCHU. As usual though, novels dominate the menu. They included Saul Bellow’s wonderful DANGLING MAN, Terry Hayes’ enjoyable but ultimately disappointing blockbuster I AM PILGRIM – and finally, after all these years, I got around to HIGH FIDELITY. Also tackled a pair of well written Irish novels: ACADEMY STREET by Mary Costello and THE TROUT by Waterford writer Peter Cunningham. It is these last two that I want to talk about.

ACADEMY STREET’s Tess Lohan is a fully realised character, one that will live long in the memory. However, the story is the usual Irish declension in misery: funerals, families, unwanted pregnancy, illness and church-ridden guilt predominate. Thankfully, that other standard Irish trope – child abuse – does not rear its ugly head in Mary Costello’s pages – though it does in THE TROUT. In fairness to Peter Cunningham, he handles it in a subtle and non-typical manner. And to Costello’s credit her novel is unputdownable. Something about Tess Lohan carries you along and proves what a wonderful writer Costello is, plus there is the bonus of a powerful ending. Large portions of both these novels are set away from Irish shores, which is good as the Irish-based parts reek of our traditional fixations mentioned above. When will contemporary Irish-based fiction shed its national psyche of such mournful obsessions with the past?

 

That time of year again when the previous year’s posts get moved to the archive. Hence the updated title: News Archive 2018-2011 on the menu bar. There are now 87 items covering eight years – including seven photos – in the archive pages. Why not transfer those seven images to the Photos page, where there are ten earlier photos? The short answer is I can’t. For some reason WordPress won’t allow me insert new images into Photos without making a mess of the whole page. That’s been the case for a while now, which means the ten images on that page all predate the seven more recent ones now in the archive, which sounds contradictory and illogical, to say the least. At the rate things are going it won’t be long until recent images in the archive outnumber ancient ones on the Photos page – the joys of technology.

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12 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Frank / Jan 31 2011 11:44 am

    Hi Dave,

    Good work on the new site!

    Frank

    http://www.albedo1.com

    • David Murphy / Feb 3 2011 3:50 pm

      Thanks, Frank. WordPress is a whole lot easier on the eye than MySpace.

  2. Sam / Feb 6 2011 3:51 pm

    Looks the biz Dave. Good luck with it!!

  3. Adam Jones / Mar 27 2011 12:58 am

    Refreshing review! Great stuff.

  4. David Murphy / Mar 27 2011 12:38 pm

    There’s been a huge amount of hits on that review, Adam. Next time I post a review, hopefully soon, I’ll start up a reviews section and put them all together on a dedicated page rather than on the news page. At the moment my reviews are in different places. For instance, there’s a bad, and I mean BAD, review of the TV series ‘Lost’ in among the ‘Thirteen MySpace Blogs’ up on the toolbar. I’ll try to keep the new review page, when I get it started, confined to visual media.

  5. jamesosbornenovels / Sep 13 2012 8:04 pm

    Hi David
    Enjoyed your blog. Plan to check in regularly — I signed up to follow. Hope you’ll check out the short stories on my blog and perhaps follow also — are novels and short stories seem to be of are of similar genres.
    Regards
    James

  6. Alex Bardy / May 23 2013 2:00 pm

    Hiya David,

    There’s no obvious way to contact you through the website, so just thought I’d let you know that I have in fact reviewed your book, Bird of Prey, for the BFS (British Fantasy Society) — I sent it in a few weeks back but have no idea when it’ll finally appear on the website, so please accept my apologies for that. Fingers crossed, it;ll appear some time soon.

    Keep up the good work,

    Alex

  7. David Murphy / May 23 2013 3:02 pm

    Great to hear from you, Alex. I look forward to that “Bird of Prey” review at the BFS!
    And I’ll add clearer contact details to the top of this page.
    Dave

  8. Sam de Man / Jul 1 2013 8:18 am

    Well Dave
    You are brave to have….
    Saved
    This
    Revelation but opened
    Inner self to rid …. The mortal
    Of the not ignoble
    TRUTH .

    (Der won’t b all dat much slaggin….. Really)

    • David Murphy / Jul 1 2013 10:57 am

      Slaggin? I forgot about that. The slaggin of purveyors of poterey will only be allowed by those who put a pint on the pote’s table before they start their slaggin.

      • Sam de Man / Jul 1 2013 12:12 pm

        Sure it’s de drink
        dat ….
        has u..
        I de way u
        ARE!

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