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

Thursday, November 15, 2012

"That Night" by Kerrie O'Brien A Story from 30 Under 30

"That Night" by Kerrie O'Brien (2012, two pages)

30 Under 30:  A Selection of Short Stories by Thirty Young Irish Writers edited by Elizabeth Reapy with a foreword by John Walsh

The Irish Quarter

Kerrie O'Brien

"We were really drunk but I know I saw it and I dropped my can and then he saw it and he fell on the beach.   There was something comin' out of the sea in a red hood really slow and staggering.."

There are thirty stories in 30 Under Thirty:  A Selection of Short Stories by Thirty Young Irish Writers. So far I have posted on four of them.  (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.

I might, if I post on all of the stories in the collection which I now hope to do, be bold enough to list my "top five stories".  

"That Night" is a great flash fiction story, a genre I am slowly working my way into.   I have learned one thing for sure my two years of reading Irish short stories for my blog and that is that there will probably be drinking in an Irish short story.   Much of the behavior of  characters in Irish short stories  (and novels) suggest that in order for one to  have a peak experience, or even express strong emotions, requires one to be intoxicated.  Drinking has played a part in three of the four stories I have read so far.   I have read a lot of short stories by authors from India and the Philippines in the last two years and none of them put drinking as one of the core human experiences.   

The very real fun in the marvelously done "That Night" is finding out what the creature that emerged from the sea (see opening quote) really was and the reaction of the two young men when they find out the truth.  At first they think she might be a zombie mermaid (I guess the world is in the midst of a zombie invasion in the movies and TV at least).   When you find out what is really going on it very sad and is a very sharp commentary on the shallowness of the lives of many people, on their lack of an anchor in times of troubles.

I really enjoyed this story.  I loved the opening lines.   I hope to post on a collection of her short stories one day.  

Author Bio (from her webpage)

Kerrie O' Brien has been published in various Irish and UK literary journals. In February 2012 she was the first poet to read as part of the New Writers Series in Shakespeare & Co. Paris. Her poem Blossoms was chosen as the winning entry in the Emerging Talent category of the 2011 iYeats Poetry Competition. She was the winner of the RTE Arena Flash Fiction Competition 2012 and Culture Ireland sponsored her to read in Los Angeles in June. She received an Arts Council Literature Bursary this year and  two of her poems have been shortlisted for the 2013 Hennessy Award.

You can learn more about her work on her webpage

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.  

Mel u


@parridhlantern said...

This is looking more & more like a must have collection & another story written by a poet, fantastic. With your increasing interest in flash fiction here's a few names you may or may not be aware of , Tania Hershman, Shane Jones, Blake Butler & Joseph Young , have posted on Jones & have featured Young's flash fiction/poetry in a post on Lee Rourke's A Brief History of Fables From Aesop to Flash Fiction.
Thanks once again for a wonderful introduction.

Mel u said...

Parrish Lantern-thanks very much for the flash fiction suggestions-I appreciate it a lot