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Ireland

Tana French’s “The Witch Elm” Delivers Spooky Suspense

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I confess, starting to read Tana French’s new novel, The Witch Elm  (Viking), I missed the Dublin Murder Squad, a revolving cast of investigating detectives featured in her previous books. It was a fine ensemble to fall into: Rob Ryan, the tormented policeman who flared and crashed in In the Woods; Cassie Maddox, who so seamlessly blended into the riddle of The Likeness; Frank Mackey, seeking the truth of his long-lost love’s murder in Faithful Place; Antoinette Conway taking on an entire girl’s school in The Secret Place; Scorcher Kennedy turning over Ireland’s economic woes in Broken Harbor; Stephen Moran and Antoinette Conway probing their way into a neighborhood’s troubles in The Trespasser. But by page 15 of The Witch Elm,…

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Colm Tóibín Examines the Fathers of Wilde, Yeats and Joyce

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“A father…is a necessary evil,” according to Stephen Dedalus in Ulysses. But Colm Tóibín would hazard a guess that James Joyce genuinely felt this way about his father. This is just one nugget of truth from Tóibín’s latest non-fiction Mad, Bad, Dangerous To Know: The Fathers of Wilde, Yeats, and Joyce (Scribner). Not only is this book an incredibly revealing and thoroughly researched secondary source, but it is also lyrical and personal. Tóibín begins his tale with a walk through the infamous city of Dublin and remarks on the historical sites from Sweny’s chemist of Ulysses to Oscar Wilde’s childhood home and to many more important landmarks. Immediately, the reader is transported to Dublin and can smell the city, feel the stones beneath…

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‘Never Out of Season’ Touches on a Science We Never Knew Existed, That of the Banana

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The opening chapter of “Never Out of Season,” exposes the book premise flat out. It deals with the short history of the banana. This rather prosaic fruit, available in abundance, at least in New York, from every street vendors on most street corners, is not the result of simple happenstance or sustained popular delight. Its ubiquitous presence is both the product of refined methods of distribution and the result of a long selective agricultural process, an outcome we have grown to rely and take for granted. This hegemony of productivity is what Dunn, through this masterfully well-documented book replete with singular stories reading like detective stories, underlines with conviction to sound the alarm. Indeed, even if you do not buy…

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Review: Fall in Love with Emma Donoghue’s ‘The Wonder’

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“Lib wrote down, 1:13 p.m., 1 tsp. water. Not that quantity mattered, she supposed, except that she wanted to be able to give a full account of anything the child ingested on her watch.” For fans of historic classics such as The Kite Runner and Angela’s Ashes, The Wonder (Little, Brown & Company, September 20, 2016) will have you on a suspicious journey of religion and ethics. Warning: You may want to add this book to the top of your reading list. To say Emma Donoghue has a way with words is an understatement. For those who have read her heart-stopping novel, Room, you understand exactly what I’m talking about. The way Donoghue captures the voice of 5-year-old Jack is reflected perfectly in…

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HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY! Enjoy Irish food any day

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Just about everyone celebrates St. Paddy’s Day in one form or another — gallivanting in a leprechaun costume down the streets of your local parade, baking Irish soda bread and sipping on an ice cold pint of beer or by discussing what to eat in an adorkable video on YouTube. This year, we’re celebrating with the latter at the mercy of SORTED Food‘s charming lads where they talk (in delightful British accents) about odd sounding Irish dishes such as Boxty, Coddle or Barmbrack. Watch “What to Eat on St. Patrick’s Day”   But that’s not all. After watching these two Irish enthusiasts celebrate with a full stomach (and full glasses) we were inspired to check out some cookbooks perfect for…

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This St. Patrick’s Day, move beyond green beer

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Expand your knowledge of Irish food this St. Patrick’s Day with the new cookbook My Irish Table (Ten Speed Press, March), by chef Cathal Armstrong and food writer David Hagedorn. Armstrong, who grew up in Dublin and now works in Washington D.C., was named as one of Food & Wine Magazines “10 Best New Chefs 2006,” and is the owner and chef of Restaurant Eve; Eamonn’s: A Dublin Chipper; and Society Fair. He is also a board member of Fresh Farm Markets, the founder of Chefs as Parents, and was honored by the White House as a “Champion of Change.” Armstrong’s father—who planted and harvested the family garden, cooked their elaborate meals, and afforded Armstrong the opportunity to travel extensively…

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