Category: Reviews

The special powers of sacred spaces

Unlocking the Church: The lost secrets of Victorian space by William Whyte (Oxford University Press, £18.99) In the past Christianity poured a great deal of art, energy and money into buildings. So much so that the cathedrals of the middle ages have come in a special way to symbolise for many the very nature of the…

Lively scenes from pre-Famine Cork

Daniel MacDonald Painting and Pencillings Cork 1843-1844 (Exhibition at the Gorry Gallery; catalogue from Gorry Gallery, 20 Molesworth Street, Dublin 2) In the Lion’s Den: Daniel MacDonald, Ireland and Empire by Niamh O’Sullivan (Cork University Press, €20.00) The exhibition of Daniel MacDonald works recently at the Gorry Gallery in Dublin was the first time that the…

Sinfully good meals for the family

Saintly Feasts: Food for Saints and Scholars by Martina Maher & Colette Scully, with Dries van den Akker SJ (Messenger Publications, €19.95 / £17.50) Mary
 Litton   This is a lovely book by two charming and talented ladies, one in her 90s, who undertook to cook Sunday lunch for a Jesuit community in England. Those familiar with…

Recent books in brief

The Heart is a Noisy Room by Dr Ronald Boyd-MacMillan (Hodder, £9.99) The author is a Christian activist who has had an extremely varied life, but always one engaged with getting in touch with people and telling them about the “good news”. In his third book he focuses on those inner voices which we all have,…

Can music’s charms soothe a savage breast?

Bel
 Canto
 (15A)   Julianne Moore may not be Maria Callas in the singing department but she’s no slouch as an actress. In this ambitious adaptation of Ann Patchett’s acclaimed novel of the same name she plays soprano Roxane Coss. She’s interrupted in the middle of a private concert she’s giving to international dignitaries in a palace…

Fitting available evidence to the charge

Sometimes when you hear about an upcoming programme, it’s so predictable you could nearly write the script in advance. That was largely the case with Rome vs The Republic on RTÉ1 last Thursday. In this documentary on relations between the Vatican and the Irish State we got the usual litany – Mother and Child Scheme,…

Chinese Catholics — images of a fervent faith

The Poor in Spirit by Yang Yakang (Unicorn Publishing, £30.00) This is an impressive album of reportage on the Catholics of the Patriotic Catholic Church in China, running to 168 pages with 70 images. The artist’s work bears comparison with the great masters of this genre, Walker Evans, Cartier-Bresson, Werner Bischof, George Rodger, and Marc…

A philosopher’s quest in the wilderness of life

John Moriarty: Not the Whole Story by Mary McGillicuddy (Lilliput Press. €20.00) John Moriarty has published some fascinating books. Written in a baroque style, they are dotted with quotations from the classics of world literature. They also include numerous allusions and references to a wide variety of civilisations, cultures, mythologies, philosophies, religions and the great minds…