PositiveThe GuardianAt his best, O’Callaghan creates characters who live with the reader ... examines the scaffolding of middle age: duty, the fading of passion, the erosion of choices, looming mortality...If this all sounds very sad, that’s because it is. The novel is a meditation on an often disappointing time and O’Callaghan doesn’t shy away from his subject ... In the closing pages, O’Callaghan’s prose reaches a pitch of emotional intensity that ensures these characters will linger with you long after the book is closed.
RaveThe Guardian...strange and intriguing ... [Anna Burns] is excellent at evoking the strange ecosystem that emerges during protracted conflict ... Milkman calls to mind several seminal works of Irish literature. In its digressive, batty narrative voice, it resembles a novel cited by the narrator: Tristram Shandy ... But for all the comparisons, Milkman has its own energy, its own voice ... Despite the surreality, everything about this novel rings true ... original, funny, disarmingly oblique and unique.
PositiveThe GuardianThis Irish debut describes Tom, Karl and Mal, three Dubliners in their 20s, struggling to come to terms with the suicide of their childhood friend, Gabriel ... Sheehan runs into difficulties portraying the generation preceding his own. Karl remarks on the junkies on the Liffey boardwalk, although the boardwalk wasn’t built until 2000 ... But beneath the anachronisms beats a good heart ... In his rendering of the bonds of male friendship, the novel stands on firm ground. He evokes the boys’ confusion, their tenderness, their fear. But also their hope that they can save their damaged friend and, in so doing, rescue themselves from the guilt that has haunted them since the first of their number took his life, a message that transcends generations.
RaveThe GuardianThe affair that ensues is delicately handled and entirely convincing. Vera opens windows into other worlds – art, literature, travel, sexual bliss. What Sonny offers her in return isn’t revealed until the closing pages. Such last-minute revelations can sometimes feel cheap. Not this one. Geary’s evocation of the harshness of Dublin in the 80s is pitch-perfect – inadequate central heating, outdoor drinking, and the awful lack of opportunity ... The novel reads as though it might become the first in a series charting Sonny’s life. He is a sufficiently intriguing character to carry them and Geary is a sufficiently intriguing writer. Montpelier Parade is an auspicious debut.
PositiveThe Guardian\"Rooney sets her story in the post-crash era, among a Dublin elite. Her characters work in the arts and denounce the evils of capitalism while living off inherited wealth. The novel, indeed, is almost post-Irish ... Rooney is not a visual writer. There are no arresting images, no poetic flights. She is of the tell-don’t-show school: many of the conversations that comprise most of the novel are presented as he-said she-said reportage ... Rooney writes so well of the condition of being a young, gifted but self-destructive woman, both the mentality and physicality of it. She is alert to the invisible bars imprisoning the apparently free ... Her hyperarticulate characters may fail to communicate their fragile selves, but Rooney does it for them in a voice distinctively her own.\