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, October 22, 2012

"Barnacle Geese" and "Chintz" by Desmond Hogan

The Reading Life Desmond Hogan Project

Co-hosted by Shauna Gilligan, author of
Happiness Comes From Nowhere

There are thirty four stories in Lark's Eggs and Other Stories, as of today, I have posted on twenty three of them.   The more I read Hogan's stories, the more I see in his work.  What will seem like quirks to the first time reader are coming to look like very central elements in his work.  I think the short stories of Desmond Hogan are world class literary treasures.

  I intend to post all of the remaining stories, some one at a time and some in groups.   I am treating Hogan's stories as found objects, a way of looking at literature from the long ago.   Even though the stories in Lark's Eggs and Other Stories were not all published originally at the same time I will also on occasion treat the collection as one object, as that is how it is now being presented to the world.  (Treating some of the stories one at a time and some in groups is not a value judgement.)  My posts on Hogan are primarily for the purpose now of helping me clarify my understanding of them.   If someone is motivated to read Hogan or appreciates my posts in someway, that is great. As far as I know none of Hogan's work can be read online (He has no web page) but you can purchase an E-Book at a very fair price.  My remarks today will be brief as I am getting behind in my posting on the works I have read.  I will also include for the first time what I take to be a semi-official author biography of Hogan (It is taken from his publisher's web page)

Author Bio

Desmond Hogan was born in Ballinasloe, East Galway, in December 1950 and currently lives in south-west Ireland. He has published five novels: The Ikon Maker (1976), The Leaves on Grey (1980), A Curious Street (1984), A New Shirt (1986) and A Farewell to Prague (1995), as well as four books of stories: The Diamonds at the Bottom of the Sea (1979), Children of Lir (1981), The Mourning Thief (1987) and Lebanon Lodge (1988), published in the USA in 1989 under the title A Link with the River. His travel writings, The Edge of the City, appeared in 1993. In 1971 he won the Hennessy Award, and in 1977 the Rooney Prize for Literature. He won the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize in 1980 and was awarded a DAAD Fellowship in Berlin in 1991. In 1989 he was writer-in-residence at the University of Alabama, and in 1997 taught at the University of California, San Diego.

"Barnacle Geese" centers on a Traveller.   He arrives in Kerry in early winter just when the Barnacle Geese arrive.   We learn he always stops at a cafe and he swims in carnation-red underpants.   In his caravan there is a picture of the American actor Alan Ladd and a reproduction of Rubens' Prometheus Bound.   This story also makes use of cultural artifacts, talks of mental illness in a casual way as do other stories.   This is a great story.  I am cutting my post on this work way shorter than I should but I am getting behind in my posting (don't worry to anyone who reads these posts, I will go back to the long ones soon!

"Chintz" is about the experiences of an Irishman visiting Leningrad.   The story or the narrator kind of dates the work as the name of the city was changed back to "St. Petersburg" in 1991.   It was interesting to see the  way that feast names of Russian Orthodox church were used in this story, in a way similar artifacts are used in other stories.   The details in the story about the narrator's experiences in Russia are fascinating.   There is just a huge amount in and to like about this great work of art.

I think I will post on each of the remaining stories in this project one at a time and I will try to tie each post in with a different theme as I hope I am coming to more of an understanding of the work of Hogan.

I know I have not done any justice to these stories but I will be posting a lot more on Hogan.

Larks' Eggs and Other Stories by Desmond Hogan can be purchased from Lilliput Press, the premier source for quality books from and about Ireland.

Happiness Comes From Nowhere, Shauna Gilligan's marvelous debut novel, can be found here. 

Mel u
The Reading Life

1 comment:

Paulita said...

This makes it sound like each story is precious. I'm impressed with the way you're handling it.
I started a new France meme today. I hope you'll play along. Here's My Dreaming of France meme