Happy Bloomsday!

Bloomsday, the June 16, unofficial, worldwide holiday, celebrates one of the world’s most extraordinary books, James Joyce’s “Ulysses.” June 16, 1904, is the day the book takes place. And one of the extraordinary things about the book is that its hero, Bloom, is not extraordinary at all. “The initial and determining act of judgment in […]

Where Winston Churchill meets Roddy Doyle; or, the Library is not a Zoo

“Fancy living in one of these streets – never seeing anything beautiful – never eating anything savoury – never saying anything clever!” The quote could easily have come from any one of Roddy Doyle’s many crude characters, hewn from a pub-lyrical pint in a Barrytown road: “Wha’ part o’ Dublin? Barrytown. Wha’ class are yis? Workin’ […]

On the Trail of Diaper Fish Wraps and Hot Hot Dogs

Larissa MacFarquhar’s “Busted” (New Yorker, Feb 1) opens and closes with dialog, a kind of journalistic Roddy Doyle: “Crrrcchh,” in which everything is revealed and nothing is resolved. The spool is running, and we are told that New York City’s Department of Investigation is on the prowl, overseeing those on the make. The DOI’s apparently a productive […]