2017: A Round-Up

Motivated by the archival impulse that comes upon us all every December, I’ve put together a wee list of pieces I published this year.

A long essay in the Dublin Review of Books – nominally a review of Martin Amis’s The Rub of Time (Cape), but actually a reflection on Amis’s “inspirers,” particularly the inspirer he has acknowledged least: Oscar Wilde.

For Strange Horizons, I reviewed, at possibly excessive length, Adam Roberts’s brilliant SF thriller The Real-Town Murders (Gollancz).

Another long essay appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, this one on the late Thomas M. Disch and his one-act play, The Cardinal Detoxes (1990).

I did a couple of pieces for Literary Review, specifically reviews of Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West (Hamish Hamilton) and Ned Beauman’s Madness is Better Than Defeat (Sceptre).

For The Millions, I wrote a piece about the titles of imaginary novels, and why they’re usually so awful.

A short story, “The Nihilists,” appeared in Reading the Future: New Writing from Ireland (Arlen House), ed. Alan Hayes.

And then of course there were my usual reviews for The Sunday Business Post – a couple of which are available in full on this blog: Paul Auster’s 4 3 2 1 (Faber) and Pankaj Mishra’s Age of Anger (Allen Lane).

What’s next?

A couple of things in the pipeline for 2018: I’ve got an essay coming out in the Spring 2018 issue of The Dublin Review, about what a nightmare it is to work in a call centre. And a short story of mine will appear in the sixth issue of Banshee, a wonderful journal edited by three young Irish writers, also due out in Spring 2018. I’ve also got an academic article in press with The Mailer Review, due out soon. Plus there’s a pile of manuscript on my desk that needs to be transformed into the final draft of a novel: this will be the big project for next year. So: onwards, as they say. But – lest we drown in positive sentiment – I’ll close with my favourite demotivational quote, from that arch-pessimist Joseph Conrad: “Art is long, and life is short, and success is very far off.” Cheers, Joseph. And a happy new year to you, too.


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