The Cocktail Hour by Sophia Hillan. Arlen House, 2013.


These elegant sophisticated stories and a distinguished career in literary criticism and research, are further confirmation that Sophia Hillan is one of our most precious contributors to Ireland’s cultural life.

– David Park.


If, like me, you are drawn to Sophia Hillan’s writing, you will be rewarded in this collection by the inclusion of an astonishing tale, folkish in its simplicity, but concentrated on the theme of several of the stories here: sibling love and its vicissitudes. A child’s precocious contemplation of war in Ireland and war in Germany promotes a disturbance in the imaginative lonely boy. A woman’s playful New York adventure turns on a confrontation with external reality. A dramatic monologue from one of Jane Austen’s bitter relatives is directed at the unpropertied female writer. A deceptive, subversive intelligence is at work here beneath the lightness. Sophia Hillan’s range is dazzling.

– Anne Devlin.


In the opening story, ‘A Princeton Man’, we are borne back to an exclusive Gatsbyland, filtered in all its shallow cruelties with Jamesian clarity and irony.

– Medbh McGuckian.


Condition: New paperback.


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