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

Monday, April 23, 2012

"Saturday Girl" by Ethel Rohan

"Saturday Girl" by Ethel Rohan (2012, 3 pages)

Irish Short Story Week Year Two
March 11 to July 1

Ethel Rohan

Please consider joining us for Irish Short Story Week Year Two.   Everything you need to participate is in the resources page, including links to 1000s of short stories, from brand new ones to stories now in the public domain.   Guests posts are also welcome.   Emerging Irish Women is now a full term event.  Collete will join us at the event close out party at Lord Dunsanny's Castle on July 2.  

"Saturday Girl" is  the third short story by Ethel Rohan on which I have now posted.   My first Rohan story was "Beast and the Bear".   I was really completely blown away by this story.  To find its better  I had to reach to the very greatest of  short story writers.   I know this sounds hyperbolic but  it is how I feel.   My second Rohan story was "Dark Stars", a very different story, kind of impressionistic piece that enters into the consciousness of sixty something woman who has had a bit of a rough life.

Both of these stories are told in the first person by a female narrator.  "Saturday Girl" is told by a thirteen year old girl who works on Saturdays in a beauty parlor in Manchester, sweeping up, doing shampoos and such.  Her name is Viv and her school mates tease her about her huge hooked nose.

Rohan catches the consciousness of the girl perfectly

Saturday girl at the hair salon is my first ever job. I mostly shampoo the old dears, make them tea and biscuits, tidy the magazines, and sweep the floor bald. I also take out the pins and curlers for those getting sets and perms. Of all my tasks at the salon, I most like to brush Mrs. Dabney's tea-brown wig. The wig looks alive on my left hand, warm and moving and shining. I love that I don't have to worry about making small talk to the wig or causing the hairpiece harm or getting anything too much wrong. My least favorite task is when I have to rub wet cigarette ashes into the hairline of the women getting colors so the telltale dye won't bleed into their skin. I hate to touch the wet ashes and rub the foul black paste against the old women's papery skin. I worry I'll tear right through to blood and brain.

It was fun to see Viv tell her parents that since she is old enough to work she is old enough to go to the local kids' disco.

There is a dramatic development in this brief story but I won't spoil it for you.

You can read "Saturday Girl" here  (under international copyright to Ethel Rohan)

Suko's Notebook has a very good post on a story by Rohan "Sweet Pea", from the latest issue of The Stinging Fly.

Ethel Rohan is the author of Hard to Say (Pank, 2011) and Cut Through the Bone (Dark Sky Books, 2010), the latter long listed for The Story Prize. Her work has or will appear in World Literature Today, The Irish TimesThe Chattahoochee ReviewThe Los Angeles ReviewSoutheast Review OnlinePotomac Review, and elsewhere. Raised in Ireland, Ethel Rohan now lives in San Francisco. Visit her at 
Her books are available as Kindle and paperback editions for a very fair prize on Amazon.

Mel u


Suko said...

This sounds like another wonderful short story by Ethel Rohan. Thanks for the link, and the mention.

Caroline said...

This is such an exciting writer. One of the finds of this Irish Literature event.
Thanks for the link.

Mel u said...

Suko-she is a very exciting writer

Caroline-it may turn out that the Emerging Women Writers Segment is the best thing about Irish Short Story Week-