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

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Elizabeth Reapy- "Moving Statues"

"Moving Statues" (2011, 4 pages)

Irish Short Story Week Year Two
Elizabeth Reapy
March 12 to April 11
Emerging Women Writers

Irish Short Story Week is now officially turned into a month long event,  between March 12 and April 11.  I will do an update on the event so far soon in which I will list all of the new posts and set out my plans for the remainder of the event. (if I miss yours it is an oversight so please tell me and I will fix it right away).   Everyone is invited to join us.   All you are asked to do is post on one Irish short story and let me know of  your post.   There have already been two guest posts so far and you are more than welcome to do one on The Reading Life.  If you are interested in doing this you can simply email me your content and I will post it with all due credit and links to you, of course.   You do not at all have to follow my schedule.   At the end of the challenge I will do, as I did in 2011, a master post on all of the great participants.

I have already posted on a very moving story by Kate Ferguson, "Mouse" which reminded me a lot of an early Katherine Mansfield story and a story that kind of takes Chekhov to another level, "Vronsky's Teeth" by Sheila Miller.  (My reasons for focusing on Emerging Irish Women Writers are here.)

I decided to post on Elizabeth Reapy (her official bio will be included) because I liked her "Moving Statues"  a great deal,it is  very different from the first two stories I read for this segment of Irish Short Stories Week Year Two and to make sure my readers know about the online journal that she cofounded and of which she is now editor, Wordlegs.  

"Moving Statues" is about a young woman seemingly in her late teens or early twenties.  Reapy's prose is very lean with a bit of a refreshing hard edge to it.   You can see the flavor of her excellent prose in the opening few sentences of the story

I’m not sure about miracles. Or God. If there was such things then why did my Dad and my brother Matthew get killed. Four years ago in 1981. Out fishing and a wave turned them over. Both good swimmers. Both drowned. And my Mam, well, she’s been drowning ever since. And we’re all getting drowned this summer. I think there has been about three days that didn’t rain since I got my school holidays from the Convent. The only decent thing this summer has been Live Aid. And Micháel McHugh from McHughs’ Shop in the village.

One day the daughter hears that a statue of Mary has moved on its own power.  The daughter hopes this might be the news that will get her mother to break out of her terrible downward cycle.  At first the mother is not interested in this just like she is not interested anything else.  

I found the passages in which Reapy shows us the mother and daughter talking about whether or not they would go see the statue very powerful and moving so I will quote it a bit.

"Rory, you are needed over on
Fairy Week"-Carmilla

"Carmilla, Vampire Day is soon"-Rory
When I was walking home, my legs were wobbly. I rushed in to Mammy’s bedroom and told her all the news. I added a small few details of my own about what bishops had said about it and how RTÉ were there along with the Cork newspapers. She just said she was tired.The next day, the moving statue did actually get discussed on RTÉ. I had to get Mam to agree to go. She wouldn’t let me go alone, she hated me being gone from the house. I made her tea and put it, along with the Custard Creams, on a tray and went down to her.“Mammy, we should go to see the statue.”“No, Angela. To be honest I’ve no interest.”“But it’s on in here, above in Ballinspittle. It’s only a fifteen-minute drive. We should just go to see it.”“I don’t care about it,” she said and turned her body away from me.I started crying and shouted at her. “You don’t care about anything. You don’t even care about me. If you did, you’d be looking after me and not the other way round.”She moved her head to face me. “Don’t be like that, Angela. I can’t take much of that
I wll leave the rest of the story untold but Reapy has really put a lot of narrative strength in this story.   She gives enough detail to make the people seem very real and the conversations between mother and daughter are perfect.   The daughter is not just a saint, she has her frustrations, gets very bored and even has a crush.

Wordlegs is an online publication which focuses mostly work by emerging Irish Writers including short stories, reviews, poetry and flash fiction.  It comes out four times a year and I will be following it now.  

"Moving Statues" can be read here.

Here is the official biography of Elizabeth Reapy (who writes as EM  Reapy)

EM Reapy was born in Ireland in 1984. She has a BA in English literature and history (NUIG) and a Postgraduate Diploma in Education (UCC). In 2009, she graduated from the MA in Creative Writing programme at the Seamus Heaney Centre in Queen’s University, Belfast. That same year she was shortlisted for Over the Edge New Writer of the Year award. Her short fiction and poetry has been featured in various Irish, British and American publications. In 2010, she co-founded and is current editor of; an online literary journal that showcases young and emerging Irish talent. wordlegs was nominated for an Irish Web Award and pieces from it were translated into Spanish for Cuadrivo magazine. She was selected to read at the Lonely Voice Introduction Series in the Irish Writers Centre in May 2010 and to attend Fiction Masterclasses in Trinity College Dublin in early 2011. In May 2011, she was awarded the Tyrone Guthrie Centre Regional Bursary by Mayo Arts Council. Her short film ‘Lunching,’ is being produced by Barley Films animation studio, with another animated short in review. She is redrafting a feature length screenplay and hopes to release a collection of short stories in 2013.

In the next two days I plan to post on stories by Shauna Gilligan and Ethel Rohan.   I am seeking suggestions for other writers to cover and am open to posting on more than seven emerging women writers.

Mel u


Caroline said...

She has an interesting voice. I'd like to read the whole story, thanks for the link. And Mouse as well.

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