30 Under 30: A Selection of Short Stories by Thirty Young Irish Writers edited by Elizabeth Reapy with a foreword by John Walsh
The Irish Quarter
"How high would you climb in a day if I were hiding on a snow covered mountain?"
There are thirty stories in 30 Under 30: A Selection of Short Stories by Thirty Young Irish Writers. So far I have posted on 13 of them. (I totally endorse purchase of this very fairly priced collection and will provide a publisher's link at the end of this post.) There is also a very interesting introduction by the editor Elizabeth Reapy (I have posted on her very well done short story, "Statues") and a foreword by John Walsh.. Agreeing with John Walsh, I think this book could well be a collector's item one day.
Posting on collections of short stories that include the works of many different authors presents a big challenge, to me at least. I do not personally care for reviews or posts on short story collections that simply have one or two lines on a few of the stories and then gush over the collection as a whole with standard book review quotes. These could in fact easily be written without reading much of the collection and to me it is like going on about a forest without realizing it is made up of trees. Because of the high quality of the stories and the collections ability to acquaint me with contemporary Irish short stories, I now plan to post individually on all of the stories in the collection.
Upon completion of this project, I will list my top five stories.
"How Far Would You Swim" by Niall Ruddy is a well done story, carried mostly by dialogue, about an insecure woman and her man, from whom she wants constant assurances of his devotion. She is constantly asking him questions like "If I were stranded in the Sahara would you walk to get me?" The man then says something like "Until I died of thirst". The couple seem to have a good relationship but we wonder what drives the woman to need constant declarations of love.
There is lots of drinking in this story. In one very telling scene the man finds a rose in the gutter and he brings it home and gives it to the woman who takes it as proof of his love. He never tells her where it came from.
There is a twist ending in the story and maybe the cold side of me was happy for the man.
This is a very well done story with excellent character development. I am glad I read it and would be happy to read more stories by Niall Ruddy
Author Data (from 30 Under 30)
Niall Ruddy, 29, is from Newry. He was short listed for the Lumnisa and the Fish Publishing short story competitions in previous years. He is working on a novel which he hopes to have published before he turns 30 and continues to write short stories.
You can find more information on 30 Under Thirty: A Selection of Short Stories by Thirty Young Irish Writers at the web page of Doire Press.