RaveThe Irish TimesAs in the books of the great Mancunian YA fantasy writer Alan Garner, it’s one of these fantasy novels set in the real world rather than a fantasy world: Manchester ain’t no Narnia.They are my favourite kind of fantasy books – where the supernatural threads must be woven into the everyday rhythms, architecture and rain (this being Manchester) of the real world. This requires a creation of believability that must straddle the two worlds – the natural and the supernatural – and McDonnell achieves it effortlessly ... It is obvious that McDonnell loves creating characters and loves the characters he creates, and soon we are rooting for this quirky and eccentric multicultural bunch ... Combining these elements – fantasy, comedy and police procedural – so expertly is McDonnell’s great achievement. As the story progresses, there are so many inventive reveals and devices and character revelations, all paced perfectly, that the story drags you along like some beast with superhuman power.
Bret Easton Ellis
PositiveThe Irish TimesHere are two key themes of this book of essays: firstly, a middle-aged white male criticising millennials...and secondly, the notion of people as actors who are not behaving with authenticity. Ellis weaves his themes throughout the essay to produce a cohesive whole. That Ellis engages with his themes in a forthright, abrasive and unapologetic, intelligent manner is no surprise ... This book is also an enjoyable potted autobiography plotted through his own books and movies, and those that influenced him ... he ultimately wants art that is assessed by aesthetics, not an ideological message ... he cites Kanye West, Charlie Sheen and Trump as men who are free – (free to not give a damn), people (men) doing it their way and in the process generating a following ... That his own freedom would also be based on wealth...sometimes makes his criticism of the \'victimisation culture\' seem a bit rich – as though not realising that a rebalancing is in order and that other voices must have their platform to be heard .... This book is a refreshing and hugely interesting intervention in a debate about the nature of our times – is it the cry of a dinosaur or a timely injection of corrective truth? I recommend it.
Andrés Barba, trans. by Lisa Dillman
RaveThe Irish TimesAn achievement of brave imagination in which the author creates a world that is measured and experienced without the mediating tool of language ... The terrain of childhood is brilliantly described ... A strange unsettling novel that hews a remarkable sense within itself.
RaveThe Irish TimesAlienation is brilliantly drawn as directly impinging on the characters—showing how love and compassion become difficult as people are pushed away from each other in this fearful atmosphere ... he suppressed, almost muffled characters, move through the aptly pastel-grey and blue-toned frames which paint a nuanced indictment of a society at war with itself. It even manages a tone of hope at the end. Excellent and highly recommended.