I’m restraining myself – I will not say ‘Top of the mornin’ to you’ or use any other Irish cliché. But I am featuring Irish tales today. This week is National Short Story Week (16th to 22nd November), an event I look forward to each year. I enjoy reading and writing this form of literature so I want to support this annual event by encouraging readers to dip their toes into short stories.
Several times during the week, I’m featuring short stories from a variety authors and genres. Today, as I’ve said, it’s Irish tales. From historical to contemporary, there’s a wealth of topics and styles to choose from. I’ve selected a few individual tales and story collections that I thought you might like.
‘Letters’ in the collection, Mother America by Nuala Ní Chonchúir.
Set in Ireland and America, as well as Paris, Rome and Mexico, the stories in the collection map the lives of parents and the boundaries they cross. Ní Chonchúir’s sinewy prose dazzles as she exposes the follies of motherhood as well as its triumphs. And once again she spotlights the contradictions and fierce loves that shake up the life of the family. The story ‘Letters’ sees an Irish mother cling to love of her son, though he abandoned her in New York, where loneliness is alleviated only by letters she cannot read.
Strange Alchemy by Tim Hodkinson.
In this short story, a knight seeking the truth about occult mysteries arrives in medieval Dublin, on the trail of the ultimate secret of alchemy. In a muddy street, he finds what looks like the goal of his quest: an old alchemist who knows the key to the secret. What is the truth behind the Elixir of Life?
The Man in the Paddy Hat and other stories and poems by Roy Newell.
A collection of fourteen sketches of Irish life, most of which have a thread of humour running through them. Also included, for good measure, is a number of poems to amaze and delight readers. Proceeds from the sale of the book are donated to Parkinsons UK. To order a copy (£5.99 + postage), contact the author via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Connery the Great by J. S. Dunn.
Eire, 1600 BCE, the Atlantic Bronze Age. Connery the Great: his reign brought gladness and prosperity the likes of which were never again seen in the northern isles. His murder was a great misdeed of which people still speak. Enter the dark and fractured world which young Connery must navigate. Based on the ancient tale from western Europe’s oldest myths, The Destruction Of Derg’s Hostel.
Dancing Shadows, Tramping Hooves by Dianne Ascroft.
A collection of half a dozen short stories, most of them rooted in Ireland. Tales of outsiders who discover they belong, a humorous slice of life yarn, heartwarming love stories and a tale of taming fear. The shadows are on the wall, in the heart and clouding a woman’s memories while tangible foes tramp through the physical landscape.
Stop by on Sunday when we’ll turn our attention to wartime stories.