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
"Greg hinders himself on the daily, maybe even hourly. He trips on his beard and absent-mindedly ties his shoe laces together. He's out of his gourd, and one time he actually almost died by stepping on a gourd".
There are thirty stories in 30 Under Thirty: A Selection of Short Stories by Thirty Young Irish Writers. So far I have posted on seven 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 these 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.
"Information About Gregg" by Mark Noonan is only one page long but it is one amazing page. Lots of wonderful things can be said about this powerful flash fiction. The first thing I would say is that the last line, which I will not reveal so you can enjoy it yourself, made me laugh out loud it is so funny and so flat out brilliant. When you find out what this works purports to be I think it will "mess with your mind" a good bit. You start to think who is crazier, Greg, the speaker or the world in which this story could take place, which happens to be our world.
This story is too short and compressed for it to be fair or reasonable to try to summarize the action in any way.
I really hope Noonan will write more short stories and I hope one day he has a 1000 page collection of short stories for the world to cherish. Many authors of flash fiction are also poets as both deal with extreme compression.
You can read some of his poems here.
Author Data (from 30 Under 30)
Mark Noonan is from Clonmel, Ireland. His plays have been produced in Dublin, Cork, and New York City. His poetry and other writing have appeared in several journals. He currently lives along with his wife in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. He works for a small independent music label and plays banjo in a folk band.
You can find more information about the collection at the web page of Doire Press