Paul Murray navigates in the comic tradition of his fellow Irish writers Beckett, Joyce and Jonathan Swift. His new novel, The Mark and the Void (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), dramatizes a banking crisis – the result of the collapse of Ireland's brief economic boom fueled by foreign investment. The novel's characters experience a Faustian temptation as the promise of big money robs them of their humanity. What's really at stake? The traditions of Irish culture – life in the pubs, gossip that enlivens a sense of community, a gleeful mockery of pretension.
Photo: Alex Pieros