‘Evenings were bad. I’d zone out, see things dancing at the foot of my bed, faces cratered and bearded and red, bunched up like Caravaggio’s late drunks, the ones who giggle when saints are dying.’
In the summer issue of the Dublin Review, Tim MacGabhann concludes his magnificent three-part essay sequence about his addictions and – here – his recovery, which began during an epic trek across Mexico City. This is memoir at its most visceral and probing, a deep dive into a troubled consciousness and the quest for better ways of being alive.
Also in the summer issue, Brenda Romero’s ‘722 Montgomery Street, Ogdensburg, NY’ is a brilliantly original and vivid reconstruction of her childhood home in time and space. It is at once a remarkable act of memory and a fascinating demonstration of how memory works.
Justin Quinn’s ‘Ghosts and Neighbours’ anatomizes the part of Prague where he has lived for many years, cataloguing his observations and associations along the route he walks to get the train to work. It is urban natural history at its very best: nature writing that doesn’t draw any artificial boundaries around ‘nature’.
In her first published essay, Emily Grabham recounts a sequence of walks along the coast of Northumberland and Berwickshire, undertaken in the midst of a debilitating and utterly mysterious illness. Juxtaposing a diary of the walks with notes from her medical consultations and research, Grabham meditates on the gap between how much we know about some parts of nature, and how little we know about others.
Finally, Rory Gleeson’s ‘The Bleep’ traces his odd obsession with the endless warning bleeps of a smoke detector in a local shop. Why won’t someone change the battery? Why do we become so stuck, so oblivious or obsessed? And meanwhile, the bleep goes on …