The novel is permeated by an impending sense of doom, even if the reader is generally unsure of where they are being led. Outside the drizzle never lets up; but inside the walls of Trinity, temperatures rise as the aspiring writers build up a catalogue of rivalries and resentments.
Despite the rarefied subject matter, the city sitting in the novel’s background is the depressed, hopeless and heroin-addicted Dublin of the mid-1980s.
In any case, this is a book about emotions rather than events. However grim, its drama is there only to articulate the flow of sensibility, the endless poetic filtering of significance out of circumstance.
Kilroy writes about 1980s Dublin with sensitivity and humour. She deftly portrays the concerns of an ambitious creative writing class against a city mired in unemployment and perennial grey.— Lily Power