A Little Town

A Little Town

This Penguin Modern Classic could have been made more accessible in a larger font. I struggled through it because I love Hrabal - and, of course, I was eventually rewarded. Not as funny as Closely Observed Trains, or, Dancing Lessons for the Advanced in Age, but still...

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Belfast Rally in Support of Palestine

Belfast Rally in Support of Palestine

At least thirty four Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since they began holding Land Day protests on March 30th. This afternoon, at the gates of Belfast City Hall, members of a number of organisations held a rally in solidarity with the Palestinian...

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‘The Fog Of War’

‘The Fog Of War’

I wrote this feature in May 2005: some thoughts about perennial war and how people rationalise their justifications for their actions. I was reminded of it when I saw on Twitter today a reference to Robert Oppenheimer (the American theoretical physicist in the...

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Dirty Dancing

Dirty Dancing

Really enjoyed this novel, a crime/political thriller set in Cuba and written by former Uruguayan Tuparmaro guerrilla Daniel Chavarría. It is stylish, intelligent, dark, amusing and a bit raunchy. Aldo Bianchi and his girlfriend Teresita were once arrested by Alberto...

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This Can’t Be Right?

This Can’t Be Right?

I see that Ed Moloney, one of the godfathers behind the disastrous Boston College Oral History Archive - the project that launched a thousand subpoenas - is up for an Oscar. Only joking. But I see that a film co-produced by Ed Moloney and written by Moloney and...

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“some memory I’ve got, eh, young ladies?”

“some memory I’ve got, eh, young ladies?”

An old roué, Jirka, a retired shoemaker, in one breathless address, often course and absurd, is regaling some young ladies and tells them of another group of young ladies he also used to habitually address, six prostitutes (his ‘beauties’) out sunbathing in their back...

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Four Books In Cuba

Four Books In Cuba

Read several books while I was away in Cuba. Also got to visit the grave in Havana of one of the authors, Alejo Carpentier, whose book The Kingdom of This World was published in 1957. Carpentier died in 1980. It tells the story of the black uprising against French...

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Days Of The Old Schoolyard

Days Of The Old Schoolyard

As Frank González and I got out of the car we could hear the squeals and laughter of young children enjoying their mid-morning break in the hot sunshine. It reminded me of my old St Teresa’s, except no flag flew from a pole in our schoolyard and we never enjoyed such...

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Our Man In Angola

Our Man In Angola

The vet lived across the street from Sean*. He was a vet by profession but also through duty and experience. Once lean, he no longer is. Was his father a fan of the King, I asked. When this was translated he laughed loudly then began singing with a voice that could...

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A New Chapter Begins

A New Chapter Begins

My feature, marking the end of Gerry Adams' term as Sinn Féin President, was published in last Friday's Irish Times (9th February). Here it is: I’m sure that there is a little nervousness within Sinn Féin as Gerry Adams steps down as president of the party,...

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