BBC TwoNewsnight Review
Page last updated at 13:57 GMT, Monday, 11 May 2009 14:57 UK

Newsnight Review: 8 May 2009

This week's Newsnight Review looks at Irish literature with Colm Toibin's new novel Brooklyn and Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot. Martha and the panel will also be reviewing the new Star Trek film and John Updike's collection of poems, Endpoint.


The narrative of this latest novel from award-winning writer Colm Toibin, begins in the Irish writer's hometown of Enniscorthy in the 1950s.

The panel give their verdict on Brooklyn

Work is scarce, and the novel's heroine, Eilis, struggles to find a job. A family connection offers her the chance of work in Brooklyn and she reluctantly embarks on a journey to a new life.

Colm Toibin extended interview

The novel explores Eilis' personal development as she overcomes initial homesickness and settles into her new life in Brooklyn. However, when tragic news calls her back to Ireland, new possibilities there force her to question her future.

In his latest work, Toibin writes with simplicity, seeking to emulate the style of great 19th Century authors, such as Jane Austen, and takes on themes of isolation and belonging, desire and duty.

Brooklyn is published by Penguin on Friday 8 May 2009.

THEATRE | Waiting for Godot

Sir Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart star in Sean Matthias' production of the Samuel Beckett classic.

The panel give their verdict on Waiting for Godot

McKellan plays Estragon and Stewart plays Vladimir, the two main characters stuck waiting for the elusive Godot, whilst Simon Callow as Pozzo and Ronald Pickup as Lucky make up the cast in this classic absurdist tragi-comedy.

Since the play premiered in France in 1953 to a both baffled and enthralled audience, the existentialist work has become a cornerstone of 20th Century theatre.

McKellan and Stewart have worked together before in the Royal Shakespeare Company in the 1970's and in the recent X-Men film franchise, but this is the first time they have performed Beckett together.

Waiting for Godot is at the Theatre Royal Haymarket until Sunday 28 June 2009.

FILM | Star Trek

A young cast, a cool director, top dollar on the CGI. Could this be the Star Trek film fans have been waiting for?

The panel give their verdict on Star Trek

A relatively unknown set of actors take on the iconic roles of James T Kirk, Spock, Sulu, Uhuru and Chekhov, who are still teenagers at Star Fleet Academy when they are called up to man the new Starship Enterprise against a Romulan threat.

Should we take Star Trek seriously?

J Abrams, who created the TV sci-fi hit Lost, is at the helm for this prequel, the eleventh film in a franchise which began on television in the 1960s.

Review panellist Natalie Haynes will be telling us why we should be taking Star Trek seriously.

Star Trek is released nationwide on Friday, 8 May, 2009.

POETRY | Endpoint

The American writer John Updike, who died in January this year, won popular acclaim and numerous prizes for his novels, particularly the Rabbit Angstrom series.

The panel give their verdict on Endpoint

Less appreciated during his lifetime were his seven collections of poetry.

The eighth collection, Endpoint, is being published posthumously and may change people's perceptions of Updike as a poet. The diary-like series of verses are written on birthdays and significant points during the writer's final decade.

Updike writes of ageing, mortality and memory as he confronts his final illness.

Endpoint is published by Penguin on Friday 8 May 2009.

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