Forget the travel angle and just enjoy this as a sampler of notable Irish prose and poetry, old and new.




A strained marriage of Irish literature and travelogue.

Anthologist Cahill (A Literary Guide to Ireland) discovered Ireland on her honeymoon and has kept returning to it ever since, both as tourist and editor. The present work, in which her aim has been to select writings that evoke specific places and which she describes as “a feast of writing and landscape,” unfortunately just doesn’t jell. Starting in Dublin, she moves successively through the provinces of Leinster, Munster, Connaught, and finally Ulster. Cahill includes well-known writers (such as Swift, Joyce, Beckett, and O’Casey) as well as newer, less familiar names (the poet Eavan Boland and the columnist Nuala O’Faolain, for example). She introduces contributors with brief essays on relevant aspects of their life and work, prefaces each selection with a short explanation of its context, and then appends a traveler’s guide to sites connected with each excerpt. The guides are quite explicit, including bus route numbers, driving directions, and detailed walking tours, with instructions on when to turn right or left and what buildings to look for. Some writers, such as Joyce and Synge, are represented by multiple selections, others by a single short piece. Not surprisingly, Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes is included to evoke Limerick, and Belfast is recalled in a piece by Brian Moore. Less accountable is her choice of a passage from her husband Thomas Cahill’s How the Irish Saved Civilization that features a prayer by St. Patrick. Adventurous souls following the traveler’s guides will find themselves in Neolithic archeological digs at Lough Gur, and at such unlikely tourist spots as Roddy Doyle’s north Dublin working-class neighborhood and the rough Cork streets of Frank O’Connor—as well as the picturesque Aran Islands, the mountains of Kerry, and Galway Bay.

Forget the travel angle and just enjoy this as a sampler of notable Irish prose and poetry, old and new.

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-345-43419-6

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2001

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With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    


Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.


New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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