"The Exchange Rate" (2012, 5 pages, from Specter)
30 Under Thirty: A Selection of Short Stories by Thirty Young Irish Writers edited by Elizabeth Reapy with a foreword by John Walsh
The Irish Quarter
There are thirty stories in 30 Under Thirty: A Selection of Short Stories by Thirty Young Irish Writers. (I totally endorse purchase of this very fairly priced collection and will provide a publisher's link at the end of this post.) There is also a very interesting introduction by the editor Elizabeth Reapy (I have posted on her very well done short story, "Statues") and a foreword by John Walsh.. Agreeing with John Walsh, I think this book could well be a collector's item one day.
Posting on collections of short stories that include the works of many different authors presents a big challenge, to me at least. I do not personally care for reviews or posts on short story collections that simply have one or two lines on a few of the stories and then gush over the collection as a whole with standard book review quotes. These could in fact easily be written without reading much of the collection and to me it is like going on about a forest without realizing it is made up of trees. On the other hand, to post on all thirty of the stories would take a long time, an hour or so per post give or take, so I will decide as I go how many of the stories to post on.
"Deleted Scenes From Last Tuesday Night"
"Deleted Scenes From Last Tuesday Night" is one of the stories mentioned by Elizabeth Reapy in her very good introduction to 30 Under Thirty: A Selection of Short Stories by Thirty Young Irish Writers. Following her suggestion, It is the third story I have now read from the collection. It is a very creative, very clever story that show lots of wry insight to the vanities and foibles of the human condition. The story, I do not want to say very much as it is a brief work and so much fun to read the first time, consisted of five scenarios that the narrator plans to do or wishes she had done versus the real thing. They are funny, sad, wise, poignant and beautiful. You can read them over and over and you will like them more each time. I do not have the heart to tell any of the scenes but I loved them all.
"The Exchange Rate"
" What would you like to pawn?" He asked.
He considered her through his small round glasses, noticing the fraying edges of her light summer dress and the worrying lack of jewelery around her neck.
"My sense of humor," Madeline replied. He sighed.
When I read a work by a new to me author whose work I really like, I Google them just to see what I can find. In the case of Louise Hagerty, I found a wonderful story, and a new to me fascinating art journal, the Brooklyn based, Specter. This is also a very entertaining and funny story while being a bit darker than "Deleted Scenes From Last Tuesday Night". It also focuses on the hard economic times many people in Ireland are now facing. I have always told myself as long as I can keep my sense of humor then I can get through whatever life throws at me. Lots of people say that only their sense of humor keeps them sane.
Madeline is having a hard time money wise, she has just lost one of her two jobs and the hours have been cut back at the other. She has sent out lots of CV (I take this as meaning she is a college graduate) but no luck so far. She lucks around her place for something to pawn,but there was nothing she owned that was pawn-able. Her friends has always told her that it was her personality that made her special. The opening quotes shows what happens when she goes to a pawn shop her friends suggested. The pawn shop owner suggests to her a special place where she just might be able to really pawn her sense of humor. She goes there and to her shock the proprietor makes her an offer which she accepts. Now the great part of the story begins when we see Madeline trying to cope with life without a sense of humor and what she does when she finds out she has to have it back. I really liked this story and I loved the ending.
You can read "The Exchange Rate" in issue 11 of Specter.
Specter, looks like a very exciting journal to me and I will be following them closely. Here is their self description.
Founded in July, 2011, Specter publishes literature, art, and photography from emerging and experienced artists alike. Launched with inclusion in mind, Specter is open to all forms, styles, and genres from all creative individuals, regardless of race, gender, sexual identity, etc.
Bio of Louise Hagerty
Louise Hegarty is 22 years old and lives in Cork, Ireland. She have won the iYeats Emerging Writer Poetry Competition 2009 and has been shortlisted for the inaugural RTE Guide/Penguin Ireland short story competition, the Writing Spirit Award 2011 and the 2012 Flatt Prize for Literature. Most recently, her work has been featured in the anthology 30 Under Thirty: A Selection of Short Stories by Thirty Young Irish Writers. Hegarty has work published or forthcoming in wordlegs, The Poetry Bus magazine, Minus 9 Squared, Popshot Magazine, Crannóg, Boyne Berries, thefirstcut, The Alarmist and Cuadrivio.
You can find more information on 30 Under Thirty: A Selection of Short Stories by Thirty Young Irish Writers at the web page of Doire Press.
I will be posting on more stories from the collection soon. Maybe I will post on all of them!
To the authors in the collection, my only word of advise is that if you want to become know for your work or aspire to be a professional writer, set up a webpage or blog. The best Irish writers have great webpages.