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
"Snaggletooth Adams had a sister who was also his mother. From the age of five, he would lumber slowly to the outhouse, a miniature Sasquatch to the untrained eye."
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.
One of the things that is so great about 30 Under 30: A Selection of Short Stories by Thirty Young Irish Writers edited by Elizabeth Reapy is how different the stories are from each other. Some are lyrical in the gentle and not so gentle beauty they evoke, some are classic short stories in the Frank O'Connor mold, some approximate poetry in their compression, and some are just down right weird. And yes weird is good!. "Snaggletooth Adams" by Ash Corristine reads like a collaboration between Stephen King and Flannery O'Connor, the morning after the consumption of massive amounts of tainted poteen, not that Ms O'Connor would have ever done such a thing!
This story takes place way out in the country somewhere or other. Snaggletooth Adams, a school age boy, scares everybody that comes into contact with him. Mothers warn their kids to stay away from him. The plot action of this marvelously macabre miniature monster story heats up when a truant officer is dumb enough to call on the family to find out why he is not enrolled in school. I for sure would never have predicted what happens, OK we know this is a bad idea on the part of the officer. I really found the the plot action of this story brilliant. In just a few pages Corristine has created a very well developed world whose rules we think we understand even though we don't.
For sure I would like to read more of Corristine's work.
Ash Corristine is a 27 yr old graduate of NUIG having just completed a MA Screenwriting. She also has a BA in Film and TV from UCCA as well as an H-DIP in Journalism from Griffith College Dublin.
You can read another of her stories here. I really liked both of her stories and hope to read many more.
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.