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
There are thirty stories in 30 Under 30: A Selection of Short Stories by Thirty Young Irish Writers. (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.
"Lost At Sea" by Alan Bennett by Alan Bennett compresses pretty much all there is of a life in a few very interesting pages. The form of the story is really creative. It spends a few sentences on each of the school grade levels in a young man's history. We see him develop his personality and we see him fall in love with the sea, as seen in the reflection of a young woman's eyes. In one of my favorite segments a teacher asks a group of third year students what they want to be when they get out of school. The answers are a telling commentary on society. I will leave the rest of the plot untold. It is hard for me to assign a "meaning" to this story, something I do much like doing anyway. it is disturbing.
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.
Author Data (from 30 Under 30)
Alan Bennett is from County Kildaire and currently lives in Dublin. He has a Masters in Creative Writing from University College Dublin and studied Fine Art Painting in Limerick School of Art and Design. He has has work published in several places.
I would for sure read more work by Alan Bennett.