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, December 3, 2012

"The Wanderer" by Noel O'Regan

"The Wanderer" by Noel O'Regan  (2012, 4 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

Noel O'Regan

"The wanderer knocks at the door at dusk".

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.

Hospitality to wandering strangers in need is a part of the Irish character, especially in the West.   Wandering strangers play an important part in Irish literature from the characters in Waiting on Godot   on down.   In the dialogues of Plato some of the deepest thoughts are expressed by The Stranger, who appears only in two dialogues but both are just before Socrates is going to die.   Strangers are important figures in world literature.   One of the reasons is they are blank canvases that we can paint as we like.   "The Wanderer" is a dark story in this tradition.   This story creates a great atmosphere of fear without us really knowing why.  I do not think it is is right to tell the plot as it is so exciting.  I will say that I do not know whose fate I should be in fear for, was it the woman who invited the wanderer into her house or was it the wanderer who loves the road more than anything else.

There is a lot  packed  in this story.   It is in away a story that arises from the famine or at least a story of a once destroyed culture where traditions do not matter a lot any more, or at least not the new traditions.

"The Wanderer" is a very creative exciting story.  I hope to post on a collection of Noel O'Regan's short stories one day.     

Here are Noel O'Regan's very interesting short story recommendations

Noel Recommends:
In my opinion, Claire Keegan is the finest contemporary short story writer.  She should be read by everyone who’s passionate about the form for her beautifully restrained and suggestive prose.  Philip O’ Ceallaigh’s Notes from a Turkish Whorehouse is one of the best short story collections to come out of Ireland in the past decade.  Its originality and the manner in which it discards tradition has been a huge inspiration to me.  Everything of Carver’s is essential reading, including his poetry.  Hemingway’s ‘The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber’ remains one of my favourite stories.  Alistair MacLeod’s short stories are also a must-read for their humanity and truth.
Author Data
Noel O’ Regan was born in County Kerry, Ireland.  He is the recipient of a 2012 Leonard A. Koval Memorial Prize and was the second prize winner in the 2011 Writing Spirit Award.  He was also shortlisted for the 2011 Over the Edge New Writer of the Year and his work has appeared in Wordlegs, Gem StreetWriting4all: Best of 2011 andWordlegs Presents: 30 under 30.  He lives in London.

You can read another of his short stories on Notes From the Underground

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

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