irish writers

Love, Death, and the West of Ireland in ‘That Old Country Music’

Lee Polevoi

Over the years, the small country of Ireland has produced a disproportionate number of great novelists and short-story writers. In addition to gods of literature like Joyce and Beckett, there’s a bounty of very talented Irish writers at work today, from Edna O’Brien, Roddy Doyle, and Colm Toibin to relative newcomers like Colin Barrett and Sally Rooney. High up in that pantheon is another wonderful writer named Kevin Barry.

The Story of James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses: From Contraband to Masterpiece

Lee Polevoi

Modern-day readers of a novel published in 1922 and banned as “obscene” in Europe and America might legitimately wonder what all the fuss was about. Almost a century later, in a culture saturated by explicit references to sex, masturbation and everything in between, the international uproar over references to sex and bodily functions in James Joyce’s Ulysses seems hard to imagine. But, as Kevin Birmingham illustrates in his engagingly written “biography of a book,” the 720-page, epoch-defining work changed both the way novels are written and the way novels are read. 

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