Category: Reviews

Delicious choices of the oddly seasonal Messiah afoot

Pat O’Kelly   Not surprisingly, December reaps its usual crop of Handel’s Messiah even if the work relates to Christ’s Passion and Resurrection as much as to His Nativity. Messiah covers the Church’s year from advent to advent with Christ Triumphant as its magnificent coda. Along with the Irish Baroque Orchestra, the choral group Resurgam,…

The enigma of ace code-breaker Richard Hayes

Codebreaker: The untold story of Richard Hayes, the Dublin librarian who helped turn the tide of World War II by Marc McMenamin (Gill Books, €16.99) Felix 
M.
 Larkin   “Ghosts hover / Lyster, Hayes, Henchy, / And those who served them”: thus in 2007 did Gerard Lyne, formerly Keeper of Manuscripts in the National Library of Ireland, recall in…

The fearful delusions 
of modern life

Disordered Minds: How Dangerous Personalities Are Destroying Democracy by Ian Hughes (Zero Books / John Hunt Publishing, €14.50) Peter
 Hegarty   Do we have a right to know something about the mental health of prominent people? Ian Hughes, a research fellow at UCC’s Environmental Research Institute, suggests that we do: if, as psychiatrists believe, one in twenty people…

Prodigal daughter returns to world that spurned her

Disobedience
 (15A) Head Orthodox rabbi Rav Krushka (Anton Lesser) stands on the altar of his London synagogue speaking about “the beasts of the flesh”. Then he collapses and dies. His estranged daughter Ronit (Rachel Weisz), a photographer living in New York, is informed of the news by her friend Esti (Rachel McAdams). She had an affair…

Changing the way we live, an hour at a time

Awakening Inner Peace: A Little Books of Hours by Sister Stan (Columba Books, €12.99 / £10.99) This little book, harking back to the pre-Reformation books of hours, though it lacks illustrations, might be called ‘the very rich hours’ of Sr Stanislaus. Certainly her intention, like those ancient books, is to enrich the daily prayer life of…

Glass ceiling scratched from many angles

I listen with interest to debates about gender, sexism and political correctness, and often these are interrelated. On Prime Time (RTÉ1) on Tuesday of last week, Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor defended her creation of women-only professorships – it’s a “positive discrimination” measure that has met with everything from whole-hearted support to derision. Prof. Patricia Casey thought…