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 18, 2012

Two Wonderful Podcasts of Stories by Colm Toibin and Elizabeth Bowen

Two Brand New Podcasts of  Short Stories
by Elizabeth Bowen and Colm Toibin
Posted in Honor of Mothering Day In the UK

Irish Short Story Week Year Two

Please consider joining us for Irish Short Story Week Year Two, March 12 to March 31.  All you need do is post on one short story by an Irish author and send me a comment or an email and I will include it in the master post at the end of the challenge.   

The Manchester Guardian, one of the very best online newspapers in the world, has given those who love the Irish Short Story a wonderful Mothering Day gift in the form of PodCasts of short stories by Elizabeth Bowen and Colm Toibin, both are about a mother and child relationship.   Both are flat out great stories.   

I will post the links where you can hear the stories, both are under twenty minutes.   My comments on the stories will be brief as I really want to let everyone know of these stories.  

"Please join us, and no Rory I do
not need a custom shoe fitting"
"The Song" is both written and read by Colm Toibin.  It is the first time I have heard his voice and it is very Irish and very pleasant.  There is always something special about an author reading his own story!   The mother in the song deserted her family 19 years ago, leaving them to go to England with another man.   The family never heard from her.  The son was raised alone by her father who was turned very bitter by this.   I do not want to give away too much of the story as it is wonderful but in the intervening 19 years the mother produced an album of Celtic and Irish songs that is said to be the best and most beautiful such album ever produced.   She became in musical circles world famous but she never looked up or asked about her son.  When we meet him he and his mates are going to play in their band at a local bar.   I will leave the rest of the story for you to hear if you like.   If you do please post on it and let me know.

"Carmella, lets bury the
hatchet, let me fit you for  some
custom boots"
You can listen to the story HERE.  It is 18.5 minutes long.  There is a simply stunning 30 second or so addition to the story possible only in a podcast that really left me almost in shock

"Homecoming" by Elizabeth Bowen (read by Tessa Hadley) is a particularly good thing to find as there is so little of Bowen's work that one can read or listen to online as she is not yet in the public domain.   "Homecoming" is a gem of a story told from the point of view of a young girl, the age is not given but she seems from seven to ten or so.   She has just come home from school and has some exciting news to give her mother but she gets really mad when her mother is not home.   She is first mad then she gets worried.  There is servant who tries to do her job and humor the girl but she gets nowhere.   The servant child relationship is a very subtle account of class distinctions.  I admit I sighed when the child says to herself  "life is just a long wait for awfullness to happen".  

You can listen to the story HERE.  It is 18 minutes 44 seconds long.   It is perfectly narrated.  

Please feel free to post on either one of these stories.  I have just scratched the barest surface on these works.   

Mel u


Séamus Duggan said...

Hi Mel, I will certainly be listening to the Toibín story - the mystery ending has me intrigued.
I have posted on another Irish Short Story - Iris Murdoch's Something Special. @

Sarah said...

Hi, I am new to your blog but think the Irish Short Story Week is a great idea. I have posted on Mysterious Kor by Elizabeth Bowen:

Susan said...

Hi Mel - I just posted on another short story I read - James Joyce's "The Sisters".

I'll email shortly about reading Bernie's short stories together? I will be getting The Butterfly Cabinet tomorrow - I ended up not going out of the house except for walks, this weekend. I'm glad this challenge is extended, so I can read more short stories. I'll check into Colm Toibin's in a minute :-)