30 Under Thirty: A Selection of Short Stories by Thirty Young Irish Writers edited by Elizabeth Reapy with a foreword by John Walsh
The Irish Quarter
There are thirty stories in 30 Under 30: A Selection of Short Stories by Thirty Young Irish Writers. So far I have posted on 11 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.
"The Clown" by Craig Gibson reminded me of a classic American novel I read decades ago, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey. Like this short story, "The Clown" is set in a mental health ward of a hospital. It is the story of a clown whose job it is to cheer up people so badly effected by depression that they are confined to the ward, sometimes against their wills. It is told in the first person by a resident, or maybe an employee of the ward. We learn that the clown "used to work the big top" but now he is reduced to shows for mental patients. The fun in this story is in the actions of the patients and the observations of the narrator on them. This was a fun to read story.
Author Data (from 30 Under 30)
Craig Gibson is 26 and is from Belfast. He is the recent recipient of the Sean Dunne Young Writers' Award and has been published in several journals. He has been a creative writing lecturer for a number of years and has recently begun work on a PhD in that field.