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, June 11, 2012

"Shark Noise" by Valerie Sirr 2011

"Shark Noise"by Valerie Sirr (2011, 6 pages)

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

Valerie Sirr

"And that bright nylon hair, like a doll’s.  It’s hard to say what colour it is.  Red Setter red?  Call me a bitch – lots of people do.  But that feathery fringe (precision cut) and the way she flicks it.  Flick.  Flick.  Flick.  And the way she draped herself around Daniel’s neck and whispered ‘sweetie’ in his ear that first time we met in the film studio where I sometimes direct and they both act from time-to-time."

Emerging Irish Women Writers, in fact emerging Irish writers, is now an important permanent part of my blog.   One of the writers whose work convinced me to take this step was Valerie Sirr, whose story "Mirage" I posted on in March.   "Mirage", a work I loved,  is a story about one woman's problems and issues with another woman.   It also centers, as does "Shark Noise",  on  a negative attitude with which the female narrator of the story had on the way the other woman related to men.   Somehow both narrators seems to feel the other woman in the story is just a bit too in need of male company and approval and is willing to give up to much of her self respect to get it.   Of course on the other side in both stories we wonder if the narrator is simply, or at least in part, jealous that men prefer another woman to her.  

In "Shark Noise" the dislike is really personal as the woman is the new woman in the life of her ex-husband.   To make matters worse, the couple's young daughter is always talking about how wonderful Zara was (just the name totally annoys the narrator) and look Mommy she bought me this cake I wanted so bad and you could not find.  Sirr tells the story, in part, by having the narrator recall  conversations she has had with her friend Angela about what a fake person Zara is and how her ex-husband is so stupid as to fall for her.   It was the narrator who left the man three years ago so her friend tells her that it is really  not her place to complain any more.   To make things even worse, the narrator is the director at a studio where Zara and her ex-husband sometimes act in productions.  All the people in the studio really like Zara.  Everyone in their circle, in the mind of the narrator, says that she forced the man to leave by being "such a vicious bitch".  I do not want to tell to much of the plot but let us say things get really heated when the other woman brings  Lizzie into the studio with a bandage on her hand.  Somehow she  caught her hand in a door.  

The fun of this story is deciding what the truth is. The woman telling the story does not seem like much of a charmer and maybe she is at fault but she sure does not see it that way.   Then maybe Zara is a totally phony and a man eater.

"Shark Noise"  is a very well done, beautifully written story about the complications that come about in the lives of parents after divorce.   It is also about self-deception and a failure of the woman to understand what she did not give her husband that caused him to stray.   Maybe she is really the man-eater, not Zara.

You can read the story here.

Valerie Sirr's webpage lists a number of her other short stories, including flash fiction, that can be read online.   It is a mark of a self-confident and generous author to include a lot of links to their work on their webpage.

Author Bio

Valerie Sirr was Born in Waterford and moved to Dublin when she was seven. She began writing after graduating with her Diploma in Advanced Computer Programming at Trinity College, Dublin. She then graduated from University College, Dublin with a B.A. hons. Psychology degree, going on to study at London’s Institute of Psychiatry.
She later returned to Trinity College, graduating with an M. Phil. in Creative Writing and also received a University College Dublin School of Film scholarship to study for her Certificate in Screenwriting.
Find articles on writing and winning the Hennessy New Irish Writer award in The Sunday TribuneThe Munster Express, Roscommon People and Uiscebots Blog.
She teaches part-time for City of Dublin VEC and People’s College, Dublin, and has facilitated writing workshops for Dublin Simon Community and other groups in the community. 
She has six years experience as a creative writing tutor and is available for mentoring, readings and workshops.   She is currently seeking a publisher for her collection of short stories
"Valerie, nice story, maybe one day you can write
the parts of my life I never told my Daddy, Joseph Sheridan Le  Fanu"-
I will be reviewing addition works of Sirr in the future.  

Mel u

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