Best known as a poet, Derek Mahon here gathers a further selection of recent prose pieces, autobiographical, critical and speculative, in a similar mode to his Red Sails (Gallery, 2014), notably on cinema, revision, clouds, caravans and horizons.
The volume includes ‘Rubbish Theory’, reflections on refuse in contemporary culture, and ‘The Rain Bridge’, a story for children. ‘School Photo and Early Reading’ remembers his young days in North Belfast; as does ‘Olympia and the Internet’, in praise of typewriters and dis-praise of information technology.
‘To enter the pages of Olympia and the Internet is to fall into the delusion of unmediated access to the author. This collection of prose pieces is so personal, so intimate, so filled with emotion, that one feels as if it were, somehow, simultaneously spoken and written. Mahon’s dialogue with the past includes interjections of “No, no no!” as a negative review of a much-enjoyed film is recalled. This is endearing.’ — Magdalena Kay, Dublin Review of Books
‘A collection of carefully crafted essays reflecting modern society Mahon’s latest prose collection continues the theme of alienation and society found in his previous poetry and prose collection, Red Sails. Its strength lies in its ability to enchant the reader through attention to rhythm, coupled with a close examination of binary subjects that are both engaging and contemplative . . . Each piece makes an effortless approach to lure the reader into its narrative. This is a result of Mahon’s ability as a writer to bring together the universal thought with personal memory to seduce and entice . . . the craftsmanship, right down to its reading order, invokes the cyclical nature and the overarching themes of his work. — Matthew Farrelly, Books Ireland