Since I wrote recently about the drawn-out death of the book review, I’ve found that I have rapidly shrinking patience with review-type writing about books and literature. I’d rather be reading the books themselves than reading about them. All the same, I still think there’s an important place for writing about books, just so long as it’s a bit deeper and more involved than the typical standard book review.
I don’t want to make extravagant claims for my own writing in that respect but for what it’s worth, I have been posting, at first here on Medium and more recently on my own site, my attempts at the kind of critical discussion I have in mind. The front page of my site includes a section labelled “Criticism and book discussion” which links to all the relevant posts. To make them more discoverable by Medium readers, I’m reproducing that list here. (Most recent post at the top.)
Posts on artkavanagh.ie
“Oh my God, shut up”: Sally Rooney, short story writer
A look at three of Sally Rooney’s short stories, all of which may be read online. Though I think all 3 are behind some kind of paywall, each of the publications allows a limited number of free reads.
Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go
A friend who read this thought it was superficial and a bit obvious. I concentrated on one aspect of the book rather than attempting to give a comprehensive account of it. I chose that aspect because, while it may be “obvious”, it seemed to me that the author relies on the reader’s unwillingness to confront it head on, which mirrors the reluctance of the characters.
Robert Galbraith, Lethal White
A discussion of the fourth book in the Cormoran Strike series, following from my earlier piece (on Medium, see below) about the first three books.
Liz Nugent, Skin Deep
After I’d written this piece, I realized to my surprise that Skin Deep is my least favourite of the three novels Nugent has published so far. Having said that, I think it deals with the themes of misogyny and woman-blaming in a nuanced and thought-provoking way.
Finite though unbounded: the abolition of infinity in the poetry of William Empson
A fairly close look at some of Empson’s early poetry.
In addition to these, there are three essays on Andrew Marvell, the seventeenth-century poet.
Posts on Medium
Rereading Kate Atkinson’s Behind the Scenes at the Museum
Kate Atkinson’s first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum was published in 1995. It took me 12 years to get around…
This deals with the first three books in the series. There’s a link above to my discussion of Lethal White, the fourth.
I hope you’ll find something here that you’ll enjoy reading.