Pursued by a Bear »

  • JDIFF and other stories

    February 25, 2010 @ 11:44 am | by Fiona McCann

    Apologies for the radio silence, but I’ve been flat out of late with the print version of things, working on this during the fun that is the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival, and compiling a tribute for the late Eugene Lambert. Course no sooner is one festival winding down than another is winding up. No rest for the arts and culturists of Ireland, so. But before we move on, any thoughts on the film festival so far? Anyone catch His & Hers, or any of the other Irish offerings? Any hits or misses?


  • Les bloggies

    February 22, 2010 @ 4:50 pm | by Fiona McCann

    Thanks to whoever nominated Pursued by a Bear for an Irish Blog Award this year. Check out the full longlist here. It’s worth it just to find some cracking new blogs you’ve never set eyes on before. I’m off to start clickety clicking. . . .

  • The literary novel is undead

    February 16, 2010 @ 5:08 pm | by Fiona McCann

    “I don’t think the literary novel is dead. I think it’s undead. In order to save it from annihilation we have made it a genre: we have taken our understanding of the word “novel” as a kind of writing with no rules and replaced it with a formula of exactly predictable progressions, illuminations and tragedies. If you’re having trouble figuring out what some character in your new novel is going to do, give me a call. I can tell you. But, more importantly, who cares?”

    So said Greg Baxter in his review of Reality Hunger by David Shields, which appeared in our books’ pages last weekend. So far, no Letters to the Editor expressing outrage, umbrage or even an opinion. So let’s try you lot then. Do you agree that the novel is undead, predictable and formulaic ? And, more importantly, as Baxter adds, do you care?  Bueller? Anyone?

  • Dublin Book Festival

    @ 4:56 pm | by Fiona McCann

    Right. Quick heads up so. The Dublin Book Festival is on its way from March 6th to 8th, and for starters, it’s free. Added to which there are a number of panels planned worth a diary note at once. Nell McCafferty and Thomas Kilroy are worth watching In Conversation, while Claire Keegan, Hugo Hamilton and Eibhear Walsh among others will be making appearances varied over the course of the three days. Caroline Walsh, Carlo Gebler, Greg Baxter and Siobhan Parkinson will make for a lively panel on the subject of “Critiquing the Critics” while Margaret MacCurtain, Susan McKay, Ivana Bacik and Catriona Crowe hold forth on the subject of the Legacies of Feminism. For all the rest, click here.

  • Buck up, Cinders . . .

    February 12, 2010 @ 7:32 pm | by Fiona McCann

    It’s only two days till the dreaded VD  hits. Yep, this Sunday is Valentine’s Day. One’s heart sinketh at the thought of all the tawdry petrol-station carnation-heavy plastic-wrapped bouquets that will be flailing their spindly, withered stems over the lips of dustbins around Ireland come Monday evening. But fear not, all ye who dread the day itself: you SHALL go to the ball! Specifically, Red Ball for the Red Cross, which kicks off at 6p.m. at the Sugar Club in Dublin on Sunday. Scrumptious munchings, finest winings, burlesque, balladeers, an auction and a delightful surprise guest - c’mon people, it surely beats dinner for two at the local Italian, or sobbing into your hankies watching The Notebook? And if you can’t make the dinner part, then pop along for the afters at 8 p.m. To buy tickets or make a donation, click here. All proceeds are going to the Red Cross efforts in Haiti. So that’s your evening sorted, so.


  • I wanna talk about how bad you make this room look

    February 9, 2010 @ 4:02 pm | by Fiona McCann

    I love country music. I’m also very fond of Jeff Bridges, so I was particularly well disposed towards Crazy Heart, the film that’s already garnered him an Oscar nomination, as well as one for his co-star Maggie Gyllenhaal. Based on a novel by Thomas Cobb, it’s the tale of one Bad Blake, a whiskey-sluggin’, geetar playin’, fading country music singer whose star has fallen so low when he first hits the screen that he’s playing bowling alleys for cash. And then he meets a younger – waaaaaaaay younger – woman, which encounter might make you feel a little squirmy if it didn’t seem so strangely credible. What makes the viewer suspend disbelief in this unlikely love is the undeniable charm of a 57-year-old chain-smoking alcoholic who tells a pretty girl, perched on the sofa of his cheap motel room: “I wanna talk about how bad you make this room look.”


  • Free free free!

    February 5, 2010 @ 1:19 pm | by Fiona McCann

    In case you’d forgotten, what with all the social activity about these days, tomorrow is Open Day at the Irish Film Institute which means it’s free – FREE! – in to every film all day. The open day screenings kick off with Ponyo, an animated story of a fish-girl by Hayao Miyazaki, he of Spirited Away fame. Also on offer is the much-touted Crazy Heart, which has already earned its two stars, Jeff Bridges and Maggie Gyllenhaal, Oscar nominations this year, and Tom Ford’s film debut A Single Man. The open day film finale is a screening of The Lives of Others, which topped the IFI’s online poll for the People’s Choice Awards, in which eighteen hit films – one from each year the IFI has been open – competed. Full, recession-busting schedule below, while tickets are allocated on the day for those who show up from 11 a.m. onwards.


  • Is this seat taken, Mr Clooney?

    February 3, 2010 @ 5:25 pm | by Fiona McCann

    Move over Frankie, it’s Granny’s turn to go to Hollywood.   

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  • Bakers and music makers for Haiti

    February 2, 2010 @ 12:42 pm | by Fiona McCann

    Cakes and music. What’s not to love? Exactly. So get yourself down to the Twisted Pepper this Thursday for the Benefit Cake Sale and Gig for Haiti, organised by the lovely Sweet Oblivion. BATS, Hunter-Gatherer and Groom will be looking after the tunes side of things, followed by Nialler9, Popical Island DJs and the Mary Jane Girls on the decks. To ensure you last the pace and have plenty of energy for the musical delights, lots of brilliant bakers will be selling their wares beforehand, with all funds going to GOAL. All I’m saying is this foodie lady is promising cookies, muffins and fudge slices, and that should be incentive enough for anyone. Thursday 4th, 7 p.m. Put it in yizzer diaries, google calendars and the like.


  • The Irish Times Book Club

    February 1, 2010 @ 10:46 am | by Fiona McCann

    In case anyone missed it in Saturday’s paper, my colleague Rosita Boland has joined us in blogland with The Book Club blog. This month, the book under discussion is Brooklyn. Have a look, and have your say.

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