Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Friday, March 18, 2011

"A Boy in the Forest" by Edna O'Brien-Irish Short Story Week

"A Boy in the Forest" by Edna O'Brien (2002, 12 pages)
"Paris Review Interview" (Summer of 1982)

Day Five
The Irish Short Story in the 21th Century
Edna O'Brien

Edna O'Brien (1930-Tuamgraney, County Clare, Ireland)   is one of the highest regarded contemporary Irish short story writers.    In addition to numerous short stories she has published several novels and won numerous awards for her writing, both in Ireland and internationally.     O'Brien was born into an extremely strict and harshly repressive religious home.     Her parents hated literature of any kind.   Once her mother caught her reading a novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald and went into a wild rage and tore the book from her hands and shredded it.   O'Brien was educated to be a pharmacist.      She married in her early twenties and her and  her husband moved to London.    O'Brien began to read widely and deeply in the classics and in Irish writers like Bowen and Joyce.    In London she went to work for a publishing house as a manuscript reader and from this she was eventually commissioned to write her own novel.   Almost all of her work is about Ireland.

"The Boy in the Forest" is look at the life of a very cursed and disturbed boy in his mid teens.   He watched his father almost beat his mother to death with an iron poker.   His mother then kills herself.   He is left in the care of his father.    He kills a man with man with a shot gun over a petty insult and is sent to reform school.   O'Brien talks a wonderful job of making is understand the world of the boy.   It is a stark, harsh story of a boy I felt sorry for but ended up really disliking a lot.   To me "The Boy in the Forest" is a masterpiece.  It is a work of  compelling beauty in a very ugly setting.     There is deep wisdom in this story.

You can read it HERE

Mel u


Anonymous said...

Hi Mel,

I also reviewed a story by O'Brien:
I dropped by during the week to leave you a message,but it seems to have been lst in cyberspace. I'm sorry I was not more productive, but I have been incredibly busy...

Mel u said...

emeire-thanks for your participation-I am extending the week for 3 more days and I hope now to make it an annual event. I will link up to your post in my master post next week.