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Life of Brian

Kevin Barry, 25 January 1990

No Laughing Matter: The Life and Times of Flann O’Brien 
by Anthony Cronin.
Grafton, 260 pp., £16.95, October 1989, 0 246 12836 4
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... Between 1947 and 1950 Samuel Beckett and Francis Stuart produced a clutch of novels which extend Irish fiction into the world of Europe. Beckett’s life in wartime Paris is not irrelevant to Molloy, Malone dies and The Unnamable, nor is Stuart’s in wartime Berlin to The Pillar of Cloud, Redemption and The Flowering Cross. Ten years earlier Brian O’Nolan, alias Flann O’Brien, had written At Swim Two Birds and The Third Policeman ...

Proudly Reptilian

Nicole Flattery: Kevin Barry, 12 September 2019

Night Boat to Tangier 
by Kevin Barry.
Canongate, 224 pp., £14.99, June 2019, 978 1 78211 617 2
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... you come?’ This isn’t your average farm but a site of adultery, fecklessness, vice. This is a Kevin Barry short story because it could only be a Kevin Barry short story. There Are Little Kingdoms, the collection in which this story appeared, was published in October 2007. Two months later, the model Katy ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Moonlight’, 16 February 2017

directed by Barry Jenkins.
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... the movie. It came and went before I could get interested in it. The reason has to do with Barry Jenkins’s direction of the way the characters behave with each other, and even more to do with Mahershala Ali’s performance as Juan, richly deserving of its Oscar nomination. He is too intrigued by the boy as he is, too entertained by him, to turn him ...

Playboys of the GPO

Colm Tóibín, 18 April 1996

Inventing Ireland: The Literature of the Modern Nation 
by Declan Kiberd.
Cape, 719 pp., £20, November 1995, 0 224 04197 5
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... tensions, and to see him ultimately as a martyr for the cause, a cross between St Sebastian and Kevin Barry, which is how Stephen Rea made him appear in Terry Eagleton’s play St Oscar. Kiberd’s reading remains tentative and convincing, but he is forced to leave a great deal out, such as Wilde’s homosexuality. In taking only the aspects of Wilde ...

The Irresistible Rise of a Folk Hero

Gabrielle Cox, 3 March 1988

by John Stalker.
Harrap, 288 pp., £12.95, February 1988, 0 245 54616 2
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Stalker: The Search for the Truth 
by Peter Taylor.
Faber, 231 pp., £9.95, May 1987, 0 571 14836 0
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... of the investigating officer that a murder charge should be brought. It was pressure from Sir Barry Shaw, Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland, which brought the cases to court. In the course of the two murder trials and the trial of a survivor of the third incident, it emerged that in each case the police officers involved had been ...

His Peach Stone

Christopher Tayler: J.G. Farrell, 2 December 2010

J.G. Farrell in His Own Words: Selected Letters and Diaries 
edited by Lavinia Greacen.
Cork, 464 pp., €19.95, September 2010, 978 1 85918 476 9
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... 12 floors beneath. In the parade along 5th Avenue they carried banner portraits of Sean McDermott, Kevin Barry and, no doubt, other martyrs. I didn’t stay long because the wind was bitter, the pavement covered in slush and my bones frozen to the marrow. These parades make the Americans look like imbeciles. But, the first page: I wrote it ...

Stalker & Co

Damian Grant, 20 November 1986

... Not until nearly five months later, on 13 February 1986, was the report forwarded to Sir Barry Shaw, the DPP in Belfast. Meanwhile things were happening back on the mainland which were calculated to undermine Stalker’s position and to delay – if not entirely dismantle – his inquiry. In the same month – September 1985 – that Stalker ...

The God Squad

Andrew O’Hagan: Bushland, 23 September 2004

... Well, as an American I don’t like it. I don’t like our policy and I don’t like no-win wars. Barry Goldwater wants to put a stop to that mess in Vietnam, that mess that’s killing our men, that mess that’s costing us a million dollars a day. I’m going to vote for Barry Goldwater and I urge you to do the same. Vote ...

Blackberry Apocalypse

Nicholas Guyatt: Evangelical Disarray, 15 November 2007

American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America 
by Chris Hedges.
Cape, 254 pp., £12.99, February 2007, 978 0 224 07820 7
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... have appeared from major publishers in the last year: the list includes polemics by the likes of Kevin Phillips as well as alarmed reporting by American journalists like Salon’s Michelle Goldberg and Chris Hedges, who reported on Bosnia and the Middle East for the New York Times in the 1990s. Hedges’s thesis is simple: religious conservatives in the ...

You are a milksop

Ferdinand Mount, 7 May 2020

Providence Lost: The Rise and Fall of Cromwell’s Protectorate 
by Paul Lay.
Head of Zeus, 352 pp., £30, January 2020, 978 1 78185 256 9
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... pleasure.It is, I suppose, possible to sympathise with the view of historians such as Woolrych and Barry Coward that the Protectorate really didn’t do too badly:Taken as a body, the Cromwellian ordinances give little support to the stereotype of puritan repression, and convey an impression of sensible, unbiased effort to apply practical correctives to ...


Alan Bennett: Notes on 1997, 1 January 1998

... worlds other than this; they are, of course, irritating for exactly the same reason.A call from Barry Cryer, who claims to have heard a woman outside Liberty’s saying to her husband: ‘Remind me to tell Austin that there is no main verb in that sentence.’15 January, Yorkshire. Trying to put my forty-year-old letters in order, I come across a diary for ...

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