The Mark and the Void by Paul Murray - review by Larry Ryan

Larry Ryan

Crash, Bank, Wallop

The Mark and the Void


Hamish Hamilton 459pp £12.99 order from our bookshop

Since the economic crash of 2008 there has been no shortage of Irish literature to document the downturn; enough to fill a bookshop table or two and surely an academic syllabus eventually. Often it’s done very well – take The Spinning Heart, Donal Ryan’s recent tale of contemporary decline and fall in rural Ireland – but sometimes it can feel as though you’re playing Celtic Tiger-or-bust bingo: ghost estates, emigration, depression, drink, despair (admittedly, all but the first in that list could show up as recurring motifs of Irish literature at any moment in time).

Often missing in all this are some of the people who brought about the country’s devastating financial collapse – the property magnates, the bankers, the money men and women. Similarly, during the boom years, novels engaging with the ‘good times’ – or even the times – felt relatively thin on the ground. Perhaps it speaks to an Irish literary sensibility that is uneasy with money: only after

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