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
"Gary got sloppy. His call was put in far too late for the authorities to get there while he was fully conscious".
There are thirty stories in 30 Under 30: 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. Because of the high quality of the stories and the collection's ability to acquaint me with contemporary Irish short stories, I now plan to post individually on all of the stories in the collection.
Upon completion of this project, I will list my top five stories.
"The Roaring Twenties" by James Patterson is another fascinating flash fiction story. I getting more and more into flash fiction and I see it as a very demanding genre, both for readers and writers.
This is an odd disturbing story about two men who seek a kind of high by sitting in their cars with the motor running and the exhaust routed into the closed car in search of a near death experience. As I read this I thought OK I am sort of isolated from the real lives of Irish urban youth and I wondered if this was a real thing people do. If it happens here in Manila, with a greater population than Ireland, I never heard of it but then again it might be popular out side my circles. Or is this just totally made up story to satirize or comment on the extremes young people will go to in order to cope with extreme boredom and its consequences for people with very few internal resources. It seems what the young men in the story do is to route their exhaust into the car then call the police emergency number and hope the police arrive in time to revive them. They say there is a kind of high from the near death experiences and the fumes. I have had a real near death experience and I would for sure not seek to recreate the experience for some sort of "thrill" or high.
"The Roaring Twenties" takes us in a very short space into the minds of two very disturbed empty headed young men. Maybe this is a reflection of the poverty, material and spiritual, of the culture they live in.
I would for sure read more fiction by James Patterson.
Author Data (from 30 Under 30)
James Patterson is 22 and lives in Newry. He has had works published in several publications. He was short listed for the 2011 United Press Home Sweet Home Competition and in 2010 he was named "best poet" at the Irish Writers' Center's annual Intervarsity College Word-Off.