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A family affair that covers all the bases of a changing Ireland

A family affair that covers all the bases of a changing Ireland

Inspired by the visit of Pope John Paul II to Ireland in 1979, matriarch Bridget Doyle is determined that her family will produce the first Irish pope

Another portion of literary fast food from Murakami

Another portion of literary fast food from Murakami

If Killing Commendatore is anything to go by, the faults of Murakami’s work are largely indissoluble from its virtues

Skilful study of a two-fisted tycoon

Skilful study of a two-fisted tycoon

The key question Matt Cooper asks is whether Michael O’Leary has built a machine which can survive beyond the parameters of its own design

Heartfelt and hilarious, just like its heroine

Heartfelt and hilarious, just like its heroine

A perfectly observed character isn’t enough for a whole book unless she has a story to tell, but luckily Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen have created a surprisingly twisting plot in The Importance of Being Aisling

A dense and often depressing delve into Ireland’s island life

A dense and often depressing delve into Ireland’s island life

At the end of a book that is often dominated by human suffering, Diarmaid Ferriter’s postscript ends on a surprisingly upbeat note

A luminous portrayal of a free spirit who enriches every life she touches

A luminous portrayal of a free spirit who enriches every life she touches

Norton loses ground in the rush to follow up on initial success

Norton loses ground in the rush to follow up on initial success

Overblown prose undermines a peek into an eventful year

Overblown prose undermines a peek into an eventful year

An inspiring journey lessened by overload of earnestness

An inspiring journey lessened by overload of earnestness

Uncertainty, combined with an overload of earnestness, mars Lynn Ruane’s memoir – but its obvious warmth and compassion still show that Irish public life could indeed do with more people like her

A knowing meditation on creativity and its potential to destroy

A knowing meditation on creativity and its potential to destroy

William Wall's fifth novel Grace’s Day serves, ultimately, as a strong and knowing meditation on the tyranny of writers

French adventures of a Scottish piano tuner with a Russian twist

French adventures of a Scottish piano tuner with a Russian twist

William Boyd’s 15th novel manages to cram snapshots of Belle Epoque Paris, pre-revolutionary Russia and late-19th century Scotland into its heady embrace

A doorstopper that tells the long story of a nation

A doorstopper that tells the long story of a nation

Grappling with guilt as feminism comes to a crucial crossroads

Grappling with guilt as feminism comes to a crucial crossroads

Sifting through the wreckage of a calamity that never really ended

Sifting through the wreckage of a calamity that never really ended

Pied Pipers at the gates of hurling’s dawn

Pied Pipers at the gates of hurling’s dawn

In an exclusive extract from his new book The Hurlers, GAA academic Dr Paul Rouse looks at how the sport spread with lightning speed through the Ireland of the mid-1880s