The ira

Spirit of place: Elsewhere, by Yan Ge, reviewed

This collection of stories is so assured, and delivered with such aplomb, that it’s hard to believe it’s a debut – and, as it turns out, that’s because it isn’t. Although Elsewhere is Yan Ge’s first book written in English, she is a seasoned novelist in China, where she has been publishing fiction for more than 20 years. For the past decade, Ge has lived in Britain and Ireland, and the collection captures the spirit of both her birthplace and her adopted homes in a variety of registers. The stories set here have a whiff of autofiction to them, but transcend their origins with style and wit. In ‘Shooting an

Humiliating the IRA was a fatal mistake

It was said that Reginald Maudling, as home secretary, once boarded a plane in Belfast and immediately requested a stiff drink, muttering: ‘Get me out of this awful bloody country!’ This does not appear in Ian Cobain’s compelling, interwoven narrative about a killing in Lisburn, near Belfast, in April 1978, but it emblemised some of London’s attitudes to what was sometimes called ‘Ulster’. Even during the height of the Troubles, with daily shootings, bombings and killings, the Province was frequently ignored at cabinet level: the spirit of Maudling prevailed in both Conservative and Labour administrations. By Cobain’s measure, Labour’s Roy Mason was as bad as any Tory. His hardline swaggering