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, June 8, 2012

"Loser" by Val Mulkerns

"Loser" by Val Mulkerns (1978, 8 pages)

The Irish Quarter:  Year Two
A Celebration of the Irish Short Story
March 11 to July 1

Val Mulkerns

Traditional Irish Breakfast, as served to all who join us. 

Please consider joining us for The Irish Quarter, March 11 to July 1.  In my resources page you will find lots of ideas of things to read and links to stories.   All you have to do to participate is to post on an Irish Short Story or work related to this area and let me know about it.   You are also welcome to guest post on my  blog.   

Van Mulkerns was born in Dublin in 1925.   She is a novelist, journalist, lecturer, and teacher.   She has published three four novels and three collections of short stories.   I admit before I read her story in William Trevor's The Oxford Book of Irish Short Stories I had never heard of her and before I did a Google search on her I assumed she was a man.   (There is a very good article on her here.)

"The Loser" is really a brilliant story about the black sheep of a successful family who is accurately described as a loser.    He is a theatrical booking agent.   One of his booking has just fallen through even though at his suggestion the agency paid the act 1000 pounds as an advance.   Clearly the act is not going to return it, having a legalistic excuse not to do so.   The man, who has nothing, has been told he will be sacked if he cannot repay this money.   He goes to see his big sister who has helped him before.   He tries to assume the role of the baby of the family to bring out her protective feelings but she has heard this story one to many times.   He ends up going to the pub where he runs into his brother in law, who is prudent, a good planner and everything the man himself is not.   They drink a Jameson together.  The brother in law remonstrates with him over the problem but does not offer up anything but advise.   After the brother in law leaves, the man spots a prostitute in the bar, he has an experienced eye for such things, and makes her an offer she cannot refuse.   

The story takes a shattering turn at the end.  I highly recommend this story and hope to read more of her work one day.

Mel u

1 comment:

Suko said...

That's quite a lovely feast!

The story sounds intriguing.