Two days ago I was in a local mall book store and I found a collection of short stories by Irish women, Irish Girls are Back in Town (2004, 368 pages). There are twenty stories in the collection, all written for the book. I looked at the brief biographies of the authors and many of them are authors of best selling novels.
After I got the book home, I checked the comments on it on Amazon.com. The quotes from published reviews and Amazon reviewers said the stories were all from the genre of fiction called in the common usage "chick lit". I decided this was an area of Irish short stories I wanted to look at. I had no intention of calling this day "Chick lit" day as I not really care for the term.
I was looking for some way to characterize "Chick lit", to explain what that term means. I found at Book Chick City a very concise account that allowed me to understand area.
That said, chick lit is a genre comprised of books that are mainly written by women for women. The books range from having main characters in their early 20’s to their late 60’s. There is usually a personal, light, and humorous tone to the books. Sometimes they are written in first-person narrative; other time they are written from multiple viewpoints. The plots usually consist of women experiencing usual life issues, such as love, marriage, dating, relationships, friendships, roommates, corporate environments, weight issues, addiction, and much more.
So how does that differ from regular woman’s fiction, you might be wondering? Well, it’s all in the tone. Chick lit is told in a more confiding, personal tone. It’s like having a best friend tell you about her life. Or watching various characters go through things that you have gone through yourself, or witnessed others going through.
The reviews in Amazon.com say the stories by the Irish women are "darker" than typical stories in for the area, somehow this is not real surprising.
Cecelia Aherns (Dublin) is a true international super star best selling author. Her first novel (of seven) PS I Love You was a best seller in Ireland, the UK, the USA and Europe. It was on the best seller list for 52 weeks in Germany. (In fact her books are in the book stores in Manila in high sale positions). It was made into a major Hollywood movie starring Holly Swank. All of her subsequent books have been best sellers. My guess is she has out sold all the books by most of the living Irish women authors I have posted on put together.
"The Calling" is about a young woman in her late teens. She lives in a rural Irish community with her parents and four brothers. As we first meet her she is 76 years old living in a home and the story is told in a conversation she has with another woman in the home Her mother, who rules the family, wants to be sure she finds a suitable husband. By this she means a man from the area who does not seem like a potential abuser. The only jobs in the area are as laborers. All the men come home from work dirty. The daughter wants no part of such a man. At first her parents think she may have "The Calling" to become a nun. Then they begin to fear she may end up like one of those "funny" women who cut their hair short and wear construction worker shoes. One night after she finishes her schooling she moves to Dublin, moves in with a girl she knows and gets a job as a hotel maid.
One day she stops into as night club near her apartment. She is awe struck by the handsome man singing so wonderfully on stage. She meets and falls in love with him. She takes him home to meet her parents. Her mother ends up slapping her in the face and calling her a "whore" for bringing a man "above her station in life" into the house.
They marry and have pretty much a great life with great kids. There is a "twist" at the end that gives the story a "darker side".
"The Calling" is a very good story. I enjoyed it a lot.
Aherns's web page gives details on all her books and has lots of good information on her work and background.
|"Here is somebody Rory and I both like-PS I will see
you at Bowen's Court"-Carmilla
Not to late to participate. Just post on an Irish short story and leave the link in a comment anywhere in my blog. I will once the event ends do a master post including your link.
My thanks to all those that have joined in so far.