Scoop Review of Books

Archive for January, 2009

Inventing Ireland: An Interview with Vincent Comerford

Audio Interview

Alison McCulloch interviews Vincent Comeford author of Ireland: Inventing the Nation. (Review Below.)

Vincent Comerford Interview

Getting to Know Ireland: Five Books

Journalist ALISON McCULLOCH, who recently moved to Ireland, contributes the latest installment of the Scoop Review of Books’ Five Books series…

Getting to Know Ireland

Ireland: Inventing the Nation. By R. V. Comerford. Hodder Arnold/Oxford University Press. 2003.

Ireland has a deep and enduring relationship with emigration. Being migratory seems part of who the Irish are, and not just historically. As soon as the clouds of economic doom appeared on the horizon in 2008, newspapers started running stories about how many people were lining up to get out.

But there’s a fierce nationalistic sentiment here, too, where the “Celtic” identifier can be attached to just about everything – “Celtic crosses, Celtic soul, Celtic mind and Celtic spirit … Celtic rock, Celtic rhythm, Celtic chocolates, Celtic needlepoint, Celtic helicopters”, and let’s not forget the Celtic Tiger, R.I.P. So how do you reconcile such loyalty to country – and all things Celtic – with that centuries-old tendency of its people to pack up and leave? It’s pretty simple. In the struggle between economy and ideology, as Vincent Comerford argues in this most engaging book, Ireland: Inventing the Nation, economy will prevail over ideology at every turn. Call it Celtic pragmatism. Read more »

What DeLillo can tell us about Gilchrist

Libra by Don DeLillo
Penguin Books International, New York, 1988, republished in 2006 with a new introduction Reviewed by SCOTT HAMILTON

Rob Gilchrist likes being the centre of attention, so he may not be too upset at having recently been exposed as a long-serving police mole inside New Zealand’s left-wing activist scene. Gilchrist may have lost his job, his partner, and a decades’ worth of friends, but he has at least found his way onto the front pages of the nation’s papers, and into the serious end of news bulletins. Read more »

MINT CHIC – NZ gardener’s guides to 2009

It’s the silly season, so David Geary reviews two NZ gardener magazines – Homegrown 3 harvest your own fresh herbs (special collector’s edition), and garden diary vege growing guide + recipes

I finally understand magazines. They’re what you read when you can’t really read anything. Like when you’re being constantly interrupted. Like if you join the 2-Under-2 club just before Xmas, so are joyful to have your very own nativity scene, but fearful that there maybe no chance to read a novel until 2020. Read more »