Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction and Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel and post Colonial Asian Fiction are some of my Literary Interests





Friday, November 23, 2012

"Last Request" by Bernard O'Rourke

"Last Request" by Bernard O'Rourke (2012, 2 pages)


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


Bernard O'Rourke


"The revellers couldn't understand the elegant majesty of this strange forgotten rhythm-the single surviving recording of a relatively unknown French artist who had died penniless and unappreciated-but the voices did"



There are thirty stories in 30 Under 30:  A Selection of Short Stories by Thirty Young Irish Writers. So far I have posted on 16 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 collection's 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.   

"Last Request" by Bernard O'Rourke is another excellent work of flash fiction.   

Sergio, the central person in the story has worked as a DJ at discos and clubs for thirty years.  Maybe that is too long as he has now started to hear voices telling him what music to play.   All the people, all decades younger than Sergio, want to hear is the latest techno babel and top 40 hits.   The voices are requesting songs that nobody else has ever asked for.   To Sergio, most of the people in the clubs are "self-centered losers".   He wants to play "real music for them, to rise above their mindless drunken frenzy.   He has to play music he disdains in order to keep his job but the voices keep telling him he is better than this.  

I loved the closing lines of this story.   I will let you discover it yourself.  

To me "The Last Request" is a wonderful story about a man who loves an art form that he feels the young do not appreciate.   It is the cry of devotees to art forms going back many centuries.   It is the story of an aging, maybe an old man, living in the world of  young with no home among them but still not ready to give into entropy.   He sees the dark Gods of art and he seeks out those few who might one day see them also.   I hope the voices continue.

I commend this story totally.   Some might look at Sergio and say "A grown man doing a job of a kid, no wonder he is nuts", OK and I see that but I also see a man in tune with darker magic than that, one listening to the music of the spheres. 

I will eagerly await future stories from Bernard O'Rourke

Author Data (from 30 Under 30)

Bernard O'Rourke is a freelance journalist and writer from Dublin.   He has been published in several journals.  

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.  

Mel u




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