Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction and Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel and post Colonial Asian Fiction, Yiddish Literature, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality historical novels are some of my Literary Interests

Monday, March 11, 2013

"Absence" by Christine Dwyer Hickey .

"Absence" by Christine Dwyer Hickey  (2011, 18 pages)

Year III
March 1 to March 31
Christine Dwyer Hickey    

Event Resources-Links to lots of short stories, from classics to brand new works.  

One of my goals this year for Irish Short Story Month III (ISSM3) is to read a number of stories by new to me Irish writers.  The possibilities are near limitless.  

Christine Dwyer Hickey's very interesting story "Absence" centers on a man who left Dublin twelve years ago, to follow a woman he loved to India.   The relationship ended but he stayed on, went to work in education and this is his first trip home in twelve years.   His sister sent him an email asking him to please come back for their father's funeral.  He seems to have had no contact with the family for a very long time.   We are along for the cab ride from the airport when he compares it in his mind to the roads of Mumbai.   He feels a sense of shock on first hearing a Dublin accent.  He begins to think back on his childhood.  He remembers how his mother would take him and his four siblings to the airport, not to go anywhere just for an outing.  When his sister asks if they can take a meal there, his mother says "that is only for fancy people".    We can feel how the children long to one day join the world of the fancy people.  The childhood reminiscences are very well done and maybe we can see the forces that drove the man away for so long.

We are with him at the funeral.  Of course there is the shock of seeing how much older people look.   He runs into an old friend there and what takes place is very sad, in a strange way.  We are left to wonder about a number of things and that is the way a good short story should often end, with us feeling we understand less than we thought we did at the start.

Author Data

Christine Dwyer Hickey was born in Dublin.
Her novels are The Dancer (Dublin, Marino Books, 1995), short-listed for the Kerry Ingredients/Listowel Writers’ Week Book of the Year the Year Award; The Gambler (Marino, 1996); and The Gatemaker (Marino, 2000), which comprise The Dublin Trilogy (re-issued by New Island Books); Tatty (Dublin, New Island Books, 2004/London, Vintage 2006); and Last Train From Liguria (London, Atlantic Books, 2009).
She has also written a screenplay, adapted from her own short story, for the film No Better Man, starring Niall Tóibín.
Honorary Secretary of Irish Pen, and member of Aosdána, she lives in Dublin.

I read this in New Irish Short Stories edited by Joseph O'Connor.

Mel u

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