The tales [in Secrets and Other Stories] are recognizably Irish for setting and wit—here with the bite of a Belfast accent—and usually display that ease of language peculiar to the Irish writer and exasperating to the American or British. MacLaverty has obvious talent and discipline, but he often lacks the consciousness of the tradition and techniques with which he is working to achieve successfully the modern voice within anecdotal structures.
The opening story, "The Exercise," is endearing, the sort that usually promises a good collection. A young boy thinks his father, a publican, can do no wrong; he gets the man's help on a Latin lesson; next day, the boy is chosen to read his answers...
(The entire section is 744 words.)