One of Ireland’s most celebrated writers, musicians, and poets, Ciaran Carson was born in Belfast and has spent his life there. In The Star Factory, he makes himself the cartographer of his home city’s spaces, symbolic and literal, the scribe of its byways and avenues, from Abbey Road to Zetland Street. Belfast has seen transformation: once the fifth-greatest industrial city in the world, the home of the S.S. Titanic, it has more recently been a battleground of sectarian slaughter. To conjure up the lives lived there, Carson plunges down the ‘wormhole of memory’ – admiring along the way the strata and roots beneath the surface. Though it has experienced more than its share of urban decay – the Star Factory of the title is an abandoned mill – Carson’s Belfast teems with stories, stories that can spring from a telephone directory, a cigarette case, a postcard, a book about tramways, a stamp. For the eye that knows where to look, and the ear that can listen, gems and melodies are everywhere. The Star Factoryis an elegy of magical power and enduring love, a work of passion and precision, and sure to be considered one of the finest books about Ireland ever written.