Reviews and Media

What to Put in a Suitcase, 2022, reviews

“A remarkable anthology of beautifully executed, stark chronicles about the way we live now.’ …impactful, insightful, superbly written…a real reader’s treat.”

Anne Cunningham, The Sunday Independent

Cover of what to put in a suitcase, short story collection by Liz McSkeane

‘McSkeane’s writing is skilful and spare…reading her stories provides food for thought on how we might act under similar circumstances…a spare style of writing devoid of hyperbole or drama.’

Susan McKeever, Books Ireland Magazine

“…an eminently satisfying read…mature, skilful, diverse in subject and style.”

Jo Nestor,

What to Put in a Suitcase is an impactful, modern collection of short stories that awaken the senses and asks the questions we sometimes choose to ignore. Nothing is wasted in the language used throughout. Many of the stories demonstrate the vulnerability of being human, examining our behaviour in different circumstances. Liz McSkeane understands our need for real connections, for interaction, for love, to be needed, to be heard and with her skilled pen she demonstrates these human traits with lucidity and wisdom.”

Mairéad Hearne, Swirl and Thread

Canticle, 2018

Anthony Glavin, writing in The Independent, said this of Canticle:

“A formidable feat of imagination underpins this marvellous detective novel set in late 16th/early 17th century Spain…Canticle is a tale for our time, rife with insitutionalised power struggles, truth and misinformation, manipulated in the interests of the elite – same as it always was and is.”

Cover of Canticle novel by Liz McSkeaneCanticle was chosen as an Editor’s pick in the February 2019 issue of the Historical Novel Review, the quarterly publication of the Historical Novel Society. Reviewer Kristen McQuinn said of Canticle:

“The characters, every one of them, have depth and life… The central theme of what truth is, both in politics and within the Church, remains so relevant today that this is a difficult novel to put down… The complexity of the politics involved, the careful layering of the plot and the unfolding events, make this a novel that you will want to savor… Very highly recommended.”

You can read Kristen’s full review  here.

Mairéad Hearne of bookblog Swirl and Thread said of the main character in Canticle:

“Fray Martín de Sepúlveda is a wonderful character, reminding me of C.J. Sansom’s Matthew Shardlake. His determination to uncover the truth, his strong principles, his unshakable morals, his cynicism and his overall personality make him the perfect detective for the time… [Canticle] is an intelligent and engrossing read about a very fascinating period of history. Liz McSkeane has created a superb character in Fray Martín and I do hope that he continues his detective work in a future novel.”

 You can read Mairéad’s review of Canticle on her blog, Swirl and Thread

So Long, Calypso, 2017

In Poetry Ireland Review, Issue 127, Julie Morrissey wrote of Calypso

“Mortality, immortality, and ageing are conjured both in the title and the poems of So Long, Calypso. The collection moves between various cities and towns and is punctuated with a handful of poems about a friend struggling with old age. So Long, Calypso harbours a lasting charm…”

Poetry Ireland Review can be found here.Cover of So Long Calypso poetry by Liz McSkeane

Colin Dardis, in his review of Calypso, said

“So Long, Calypso is a moving collection, one whose characters and stories are easy to empathise with and relate to… it is the memory of the speakers’ various emotions, laid out and exposed, that will stay after reading.”

The full review is in the  Lagan Online issue of November, 2017.