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

Friday, March 29, 2013

"A Genuine Woman" by Mary O'Donnell

"A Genuine Woman" by Mary O'Donnell

Irish Short Story Month Year III
March 1 to March 31

Mary O'Donell 

"At times like that, Mike could fill my heart with disappointment, anger too. Even though he did not mean it, even though he was a good man, the best of men, something began to churn in me. I thought of the old butter churns still used in the country beyond the creamery, and even the big creamery churns, turning and turning until the liquid separated from the lumpy bits, and I saw the bits of my own life separating, some of them drifting and sticking in shapes beyond my control, while the thinner bits of me, or the bits that seemed thin and of no consequence.."

This story is set in 1939, you can tell because the married couple in the story went to see Gone with the Wind.  Finnegan's Wake was published in London that year.   Ireland declared itself neutral in the war, the prime-minister of Northern Ireland said the policy was "cowardly".  Pro-Nazi elements of the IRA steal a million rounds of ammunition from the national armory.   There is a call made for the ban on married women teachers to be lifted.   Seamus Heaney is born and William Butler Yeats dies. 

"A Genuine Woman" by Mary O'Donnell is a beautifully realized story of the relationship of a married couple, Mike and Kate and Kate's involvement with another man.   Mike is the manager of a local creamery, his wife used to be one of the women (they call themselves "girls" who worked for him).  His family never quite totally warmed up to her, always seeing her a a bit to far down the social scale for their son but they never said anything and they acted as if they fully liked her.  The story occurs in a time where emotional reticence is the rule.  Her husband is really a very decent sort of man, good provider, a sober non-violent man.  His only fault seems to be that he works a lot and does not always have much time for his wife.    I do not want to tell to much of the plot of this story as I hope my readers will one day read this story.

There is great emotional reserve in this story. I really enjoyed read it and hope to read more of the author's work one day.

I read this story in Scealta:  Stories by Irish Women edited by Rebecca O'Connor

Author Data (from her webpage)

About Me

Mary O'DonnellThe sentries of imagination keep the way clear, think of the message of the earth, the calligraphy of trees, such things to be read on the road ...
Mary O’Donnell is the author of eleven books, both poetry and fiction, and has also co-edited a book of translations from the Galician (See Books Published). Her titles include the best-selling literary novel “The Light-Makers”, “Virgin and the Boy”, and “The Elysium Testament”, as well as poetry such as “The Place of Miracles”, “Unlegendary Heroes”, and her most recent critically acclaimed sixth collection“The Ark Builders” (Arc Publications UK, 2009). She has been a teacher and has worked intermittently in journalism, especially theatre criticism. Her essays on contemporary literary issues are widely published. She also presented and scripted three series of poetry programmes for the national broadcaster RTE Radio, including a successful series on poetry in translation during 2005 and 2006 called 'Crossing the Lines'. Today, she teaches creative writing in a part time capacity at NUI Maynooth, and has worked on the faculty of Carlow University Pittsburgh's MFA programme in creative writing, as well as on the faculty of the University of Iowa's summer writing programme at Trinity College Dublin.
In 2011, she received the President's Alumni Award at NUI Maynooth.

In December 2001 she was elected to the membership of Aosdana, the multidisciplinary organisation of Irish artists which is administered by the Irish Arts Council (An Chomhairle Ealaine). Aosdana honours artists engaged in literature, music and the visual arts who have made an outstanding contribution to the arts in Ireland.

She is a member of the Irish Writers' Union and served for three years as an external representative for arts and culture on the Governing Authority of the National University of Ireland, Maynooth.
Mary O'Donnell now lives near Straffan, County Kildare.

You can learn more about her work on her very well done webpage.

Mel u

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