Each novel is a different exploration and comment on Irish culture, but each is written in a style that is uniquely O’Brien’s. He has a talent for bitter, scathing satire that sits in the midst of light, often comic prose.
Where you live is such an integral part of your everyday existence, and this is a novel about Harlem in the Depression Era — covering social politics, racial politics, as well as the complex interplay of social clubs and both religious and charitable organizations. This is a review of Claude McKay’s Amiable with Big Teeth.
It’s a book about many things: Canada’s struggle for identity as a sovereign nation with a complex relationship to Britain and British politics, the psychological and physical impacts of war, the differing attitudes of different strata of society towards the war overseas. I always find Can Lit particularly provides an atmosphere where this kind of multi-layered complexity flourishes. This is a review of Hugh MacLennan’s Barometer Rising.