by Olga Stein
Our summer issue feels to me like a party where the Irish have been made especially welcome. Guest of honour is Donald Harmon Akenson with his monumental and captivating An Irish History of Civilization. Irish-born Emma Donoghue has dropped by to chat about her novels Slammerkin, and the more recent Life Mask. Also present are Patrick Taylor, Jennifer Johnston and Ronan Bennett. And what would a party be without the poets?
Not very Irish, but not to be overlooked, is Kazuo Ishiguro, who talks with Kevin Chong about his novels and his interest in music, and Isabel Allende with her new book, Zorro. Also here is Allan Levine with a superlative social history of the early 20th century, The Devil in Babylon, as well as Robert Alter with Imagined Cities, a fascinating exploration of how European novelists at the turn of the 19th century responded to the changed urban milieu of newly-industrialized cities like Paris, London and Dublin. Some of the same late 19th- and early 20th-century novelists Alter features-Charles Dickens, Virginia Woolf, James Joyce-make other sundry appearances throughout this issue, and these are complemented by Jay Parini's biography of the great modernist William Faulkner, and Clare Harman's biography of a 19th-century novelist Robert Louis Stevenson
Last but not least-and definitely home-grown-are Ray Robertson, Shani Mootoo, Camilla Gibb, and Audrey Thomas. Their newest novels are part of this bash. Come in and have a ball!