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, September 30, 2011

The Oxford Book of Irish Short Stories ed. by William Trevor

The Oxford Book of Irish Short Stories ed.  by William Trevor (567 pages, 1989)

Have you ever liked a book so much you kept it on your nightstand just so you could see it first thing in the morning when you woke up?     That is how I feel about The Oxford Book of Irish Short Stories edited by William Trevor (1928, County Cork, Ireland).   Trevor is widely considered one of the best living short story writers in the world.   He has published 100s of short stories and several highly regarded novels.  (There is more background data on Trevor in my post on two of his short stories which I did for Irish Short Stories Week for 2011).

There are thirty nine stories as well as several folk tales in the collection.   Trevor has provided a beautifully written and illuminating introduction to the book.

The most famous one is "The Dead"  by James Joyce.   There is a long story by George Moore.   There are scary paranormal and ghost stories by Sheridan Le Fanu and Gerald Griffin.  The oldest story  is from 1760 by Oliver Goldsmith.   There are stories by lots of new to me authors whose work I really liked.   There are stories of the terribly poor and the vulgarly rich but mostly the people in the stories are just ordinary people struggling to live and take care of their families through hard times.
There are lot of priests, poverty and  pubs in these stories.   There is a good mixture of stories by male and female authors and all regions of Ireland are represented.    There is a lot of guilt in these stories also.  A lot of people die in these stories.   Some of the stories are so wonderful and brilliantly written as to be almost amazing.   I liked every story a lot.

To all  future editors of short story anthologies, please include the first publication date for each story.   Please also include a two or three sentence biography of the authors.

This book would be a great companion to The Oxford Book of Japanese Short Stories.

If you love short stories or Irish Literature you will, I think, love this book.  There are lots of collections of Irish short stories but this is the highest regarded one for sure.

Mel u


JoAnn said...

I've borrowed this one from the library at least twice... think I should just buy a copy of my own!

Mel u said...

JoAnn-I also think this book is worth buying

@parridhlantern said...

On your recommendation, I've got my hands on the Japanese one & my aim is to get this also.

Mel u said...

Parrish Lantern-I hope you like the Japanese collection-