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m.emoireCover

m.emoire by Augustus Young

m.emoireCover

€15 in Ireland £15 sterling in the UK. Inclusive of postage.

At a matinee of Durrenmatt’s The Visit starring Lauren Bacalll, a little girl came up to you during the interval, and asked, ‘Are you famous?’ You said, ‘No’. The little girl promptly pressed her autograph book in your hands. She had already written in bold letters, ‘For Margaret Bigge’. You signed a little ‘m’ under it.

 

 

In this remarkably original and tender book the Irish writer and poet Augustus Young remembers ‘m’, his self-effacing, fiercely independent Scottish wife Margaret.

A biker with a doctorate in Victorian theatre, and a ghost writer of many books in social science, ‘m’ spent her last years in Port Vendres, near the French border with Catalonia. Young describes how she integrated into the life of the town, setting up the Charles Rennie McIntosh Association (the great architect died there), amongst other things, not least devoting herself to reading, in French, every novel that had won the Prix Goncourt.

The great merit of Young’s memoir (one half poetry, the other prose) is its recognition that such details, however telling, can only hint at the wholeness of ‘m’s’ witty and mysterious self.

thewomannotthenamel

The Woman Not the Name

<p><a href=”http://www.brianlynch.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Cover.jpg” rel=”lightbox[220]”><img class=”alignleft size-thumbnail wp-image-267″ src=”http://www.brianlynch.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Cover-150×150.jpg” alt=”Cover” width=”150″ height=”150″ /></a></p>
<p>The Woman Not The Name tells the story of Will Ferris, a songwriter and amateur boxer from Cork. He’s only twenty-one, but he has a secret past for which he has already paid a heavy price.</p>
<p>In late 2004 Will starts a weekly gig in a Dublin pub and has a brief fling with a promiscuous lawyer in the Attorney General’s office, with disastrous consequences. Two of Will’s new friends grow to hate him. One is a junior civil servant in the Department of Finance; the other a talented brute who teaches painting at the National College of Art and Design.</p>
<p>But Will also has admirers: a quick-witted window dresser from the Brown Thomas department store; the manager of a boy-band; and a final-year medical student, who is extraordinary because she doesn’t drink or do drugs. Will is also a success professionally: within months he’s famous enough to appear on the Late Late Show, Ireland&#8217;s premier talk-show.</p>
<p>The novel culminates in a mid-summer birthday party on the Vico Road in Dalkey and a murder trial at the Central Criminal Court, illustrated with photographs and a transcript of the evidence of an eye-witness.</p>
<p>Part tragedy, part farce, part love story, The Woman Not The Name is an intricately plotted novel of modern manners and the myth of Orpheus.</p>
<p>ISBN: 9780956837929<br />
Extent/format: 342 pages paperback<br />
Price: €10.00<br />
Publication: Octber 2013<br />
Distribution: Argosy Libraries and Eason Wholesale<br />
Robert Towers</p>
<p>Trade distributors Argosy Libraries 01-823 9500 and sales@argosybooks.ie</p>

Pity for the Wicked

Pity for the Wicked

Pity for the Wicked

“Brian Lynch’s extraordinary testament is like a shattering alarm in the middle of the night.” – Gerald Dawe, The Irish Times
click to read review by Gerald Dawe


“Brian Lynch does Irish society a service by tearing the mask from murder and terror, by dispelling the fog of romanticised amnesia in which horror is embalmed as history is rewritten to justify a campaign of murder, by trying to restore the meaning of language.”
click to read review by Maurice Hayes

“One of the most devastating critiques of the savagery of the Troubles and of the hypocrisy of the ‘peace process’.” – Dennis Kennedy, The Belfast Telegraph
click to read review by Dennis Kennedy

I believe that the publication of Brian Lynch’s book will contribute to the isolation of Sinn Féin-IRA, and their eventual disappearance from the political map of Ireland.”
–Conor Cruise O’Brien, from the Introduction

In Memory of the Childhood of Margaret Wright, by Gene Lambert Written between 1993 and 1996, Pity for the Wicked is a contemporary depiction of a momentous period in Irish history. It was first published in a slightly different form in The Ring of Words, the anthology of the 1998 Arvon Foundation/Daily Telegraph International Poetry Competition under the title An Angry Heart, An Empty House.
About the section of the poem that deals with the murder of Margaret Wright (which was published separately in New and Renewed), Philip Casey said in The Irish Independent, ’It will haunt your dreams.’ Fiona Sampson said in The Irish Times that ’it is a shaming, difficult and necessary read; and worth buying the book for in its own right.’

The Nicotine Cat

The Nicotine Cat and Other People

The Nicotine CatMemories aren’t true. But you can be true to them.

The Nicotine Cat and Other People is a scrupulously truthful and wildly imaginative memoir by one of Ireland’s most singular poets and comic writers. Augustus Young darts through memories of his childhood in Cork, his working life in London and the life he now leads in a curious town on the French-Spanish border. His subjects include Father Dinneen’s wonderful Irish Dictionary, the philosophers Kierkegaard and David Hume, a Scottish artist called Welsh, Joab Comfort, who knows everything, and Alban Perfide, a surely imaginary novelist living out his own fiction. The Nicotine Cat and Other People is a wise book with a low centre of levity.

Young’s unwillingness to curry favour, which makes him an outsider in the literary world, adds spice to a wryly clever and sometimes touchingly sweet book. There’s honey in the wasp – Brian Lynch.

About the Author

Augustus Young is the pen name of James Hogan, who was born in Cork, Ireland, in 1943. As a renowned epidemiologist and adviser to health authorities, Hogan spent most of his working life in London. As Augustus Young, he is the author of eight books of poetry. Light Years (London Magazine Editions / Menard Press, 2002), his first full length work in prose, re-enacts his literary development as a published poet from childhood days in Cork up to 1960s London.

2016 Vision

20/16 Vision, by Hugh Maxton

2016 Vision
20/16 Vision Hugh Maxton
The Duras Press, 2009
Format: Hardback
ISBN 1905487301

A novel to exercise the Head
John Kenny Twenty 16 Vision By Hugh Maxton Duras 287pp, €12.99 This was a difficult one. But what exactly might we mean, asks George Steiner in his 1978 essay On Difficulty, when we say a work of literature is difficult? How is it that this way of working with language which we call literature, and which we hold dear for its possibilities of intimate communication, human association and fellow-feeling, can be judged on occasion to rather be turned away from us, to be unaccommodating, fundamentally self-regarding? We can mean an impossible array of things by complaining of literary difficulty, depending on our own individual capacity for insights and blind-spots, but the overarching and simpler question is one of degree. In the way a malcontent couple have their relationship analysed in the self-help format, the question to answer before we can even think about proceeding to the critical group-hug in any particular case of literary difficulty is: Who is being most difficult, the writer or the reader? Steiner’s “theory of difficulty” confidently accounts for four types in our encounters with modern literature. “Contingent” difficulty is what drives us to our dictionaries and reference books in search of meanings for unfamiliar terms and facts. “Modal” difficulty is what happens when the form of aesthetic framing, or the genre of a work, is displeasing to us because of our own often inexplicable predispositions of taste. “Tactical” difficulty is a matter of the writer purposely making new and testing forms because he feels the older forms and language itself have become tired and useless and are in need of avant-gardist reanimation. The fourth type might be developed outwards from Steiner’s thinking to describe the great difficulty that all of literature is facing in these advancing scientific and declining economic times. Is this old thing we call literature relevant anymore and does it serve a purpose in explaining the nature of being? This is an “ontological” difficulty. In his typical concentration on only highly accomplished literature, Steiner entirely ignores a kind of difficulty that perhaps emerges only when we want our criticism to have a more democratic embrace – on the occasion of responding to a first novel for example. In even the experienced fiction writer, the challenge is always to match the original conception with convincing stylistic and thematic development, and even when the writer mismatches, when the work is not consummate, the attempt to meet that fundamental challenge of composition should be somehow perceptible. Good – or at least serious – intentions should be readable between the lines. We could call the additional fifth difficulty of recognising those intentions the difficulty of “understanding”. It is not a matter of the reader comprehending everything encountered on the page, but of being considered, if not necessarily considerate, towards the writer, of knowing when to acknowledge irreconcilable differences. It is not a matter of some easy generosity or a false harmony, but of arguing that while literature may in part comfort us, it has a responsibility also to attack us, to goad us, to make sure to make things damn difficult. And the purposeful assumption of that responsibility can sometimes compensate for other inadvertent failures. With Twenty 16 Vision, Hugh Maxton’s first novel, we get all these kinds of difficulty straight in the head (for there is clearly little intention here of engaging the heart). Maxton, properly identified as the creative nom de guerre of the literary historian W.J. McCormack, has published clever but emotionally resistant poetry since the 1970s and is now walking with seven-league boots out onto the rarefied Irish territory of “political science fiction”, a genre that is often cumbersome generally. Based as it is on the two notional events of the 2016 Easter commemorations and a Nazi landing in 1941, this simultaneously frustrating and exciting novel will have you brushing up on your modern Irish history, will have you reconsidering the value of the currently rare phenomenon of patent linguistic and formal experimentation, and, in its swingeing and sometimes hilarious satire, will have you believing that yes, literature can be relevant, can attempt to explain, or at least analyse, the immediate socio- political world. And it will also take you far more time than normal to figure out just what is going on. One of the ads increasingly placed within the covers of our new fiction advises us to “melt into a book” with a particular chocolate bar: “curled up on the sofa, Sunday morning in pyjamas … escape with a good book”. It is a grossly worrying difficulty for serious writers that advertising, which knows its own well-researched truths, now sees the constituency for fiction as one of disengaged readers who primarily want their cosiness consolidated. We therefore, as a matter of urgency, need challenging and discomfiting novels to annoy us into societal vigilance and self-awareness. Twenty 16 Vision will get you up off that sofa and exercised. For proper engagement, for readiness for the tackle, wide-awake rereading will be necessary here. So stand up straight at the back there. Roll up your sleeves. John Kenny is John McGahern Lecturer in Creative Writing at NUI Galway. He is the author of John Banville and editor of The John McGahern Yearbook, the second volume of which is published by NUI Galway this month on the occasion of the John McGahern International Seminar and Summer School Title: A Novel to Exercise the Head Author: Kenny, John URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10379/422 Citation: Kenny, J. (1999, 11 March) Review of ‘Twenty 16 Vision, by Hugh Maxton. ‘The Irish Times’, ‘Weekend': 10. Date: 2009-07-11

About the Author 20/16 Vision is the poet Hugh Maxton’s first novel. With it Irish political fiction reaches maturity, and Sean O’Casey’s tragic vision is renewed.