The Blog

My long weekends with Leonard Cohen

By Bernard O'Keeffe

I have recently spent several long weekends with Leonard Cohen. Not in person, you understand, but even so I feel I now know him much better than I did. In the unlikely event that we were ever to get together for a real-life weekend (and time and circumstances seem to make this increasingly unlikely) I’m … Read more

Lucinda Williams

By Bernard O'Keeffe

    Today marks the reissue of Lucinda Williams’s self-titled album – a significant moment for me and, I suspect, for many others who have followed her since the beginning of her career. Not only has it made me revisit the music itself to discover just how good it is; it’s also made me acutely … Read more

The Great Gatsby Revisited — or why it’s really all about Nick

By Bernard O'Keeffe

Watching Baz Luhrmann’s 2013 version of The Great Gatsby has made me realise just how much my reading of the novel has changed over the years. When I first read it as an impressionable seventeen-year-old I didn’t really notice Nick – all my attention was focused on the mysterious central character, the man whose capacity … Read more

What I don’t get about ‘Stoner’

By Bernard O'Keeffe

John Williams’s ‘Stoner’ is undoubtedly a great novel, worthy of rediscovery and of the universal praise it has received. There is, though, one scene in it which I still find troubling and which, to be frank, I still don’t quite get.  This is not a minor scene. It is an absolutely pivotal part of the … Read more

The Literary Thwack!

By Bernard O'Keeffe

Thwack! Thwack! Thwack! As I grow older one of the sounds which gives me increasing satisfaction is the thud of books hitting my bedroom wall. This is not, I hasten to add, the result of a strange literary fetish. It’s what happens when I decide I can go no further with whatever it is I … Read more