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FROM THIS EPISODE

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

Guests:
Paul Murray, novelist

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