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 22, 2013

"Hold the Front Page" by Sarah Clancy

"Hold the Front Page"  (2012, 3 pages)

March 1 to March 31

Sarah Clancy

If you are interested in participating in Irish Short Story Month Year III, please E-Mail me.

Very short fiction, sometimes called flash fiction, presents a serious challenge to the reader, the writer and for sure for those foolhardy enough to post on them.   In reading a novel, even a 20 page short story you can let your level of attention lax for a bit and still get the work.  In a very well done flash fiction like the  story by Sarah Clancy that I will talk about you have to give the work very intense concentration.  This is why some say that the best of flash fiction has to be read like poetry.  I know this will annoy some people but I think one of the reasons most readers do not like short stories is just because of the greater degree of mental effort they can and should require.  Of course if they are going to require more effort, we should expect more from them as readers.  The greater effort should be worthwhile.  

Sarah Clancy is a master of compression.  In this quite brief short story she has created not just fully realizes people but a society, a business structure, a set of values not stated but embedded, surprised us with some plot action we did not see coming and wound up making some very interesting comments about the world in which we live.  Not to shabby for six page!

"Hold the Front Page"

As Sarah Clancy has very kindly given me permission to publish this story and another  of  her marvelous stories, I will just talk a bit about "Hold the Front Page".  

The story begins with a woman talking away about her Jack and how he does not really have anorexia, it is just that he makes a nice living in movies playing very sad, starving appearing people so he has to stay very thin.  He plays concentration camp survivors and aids victims very convincingly.  The woman is in a quandary, she loves to cook (they met when she was the cook on a movie he was in) and they have lived together for a while.  His 600 calorie a day diet does not give him the libido to want sex and she is fine with that.   She talks on and on and we wonder why people have to pay him to looking like he is starving or has aids when many actually do. I would like to tell you more but I promise you will have the opportunity to read it so I will cut my blathering now.   In a way the story is a very powerful commentary on the corruption in society where real people are allowed to starve and where actors starve themselves to be paid a some of money that would feed more than we like to think about.  It also makes us think how in a society and culture built on illusion the media attacks any public figure seemingly part of a lie.  The ending is complicated and I really liked how Clancy sort of made us change our thoughts on the woman when we came to better understand the narrative mode of the story.

A Review by William Wall of Thanks for Nothing, Hippies by Sarah Clancy

An Interview by Dave Lordan

Author Data

Sarah Clancy has been shortlisted for several poetry prizes including the Listowel Collection of Poetry Competition and the Patrick Kavanagh Award. Her first book of poetry, Stacey and the Mechanical Bull, was published by Lapwing Press Belfast in December 2010 and a further selections of her work were published in 2011 & 2012 by Doire Press Galway. Her second collection of poetry 'Thanks for Nothing, Hippies' Salmon Poetry 2012 was launched at the Cuirt International Festival of literature last year and has been very well received   Her poems have been published in The Moth Magazine, The Stinging Fly,Revival Poetry Journal, The Stony Thursday Book, The Poetry Bus, Irish Left Review and have been translated and published in Mexico and Slovenia.  She was the runner up in the North Beach Nights Grand Slam Series 2010 and 2011, and was the winner of the Cúirt International Festival of Literature Grand Slam 2011.She was an invited guest at the 2011 Vilenica Festival of Literature in Slovenia and at the Cork Spring Poetry Festival and in Spring 2012 her poem “I Crept Out” received second prize in the Ballymaloe International Poetry Competition.

As I mentioned I will soon publish this story and another work by Sarah Clancy.  

She has also very kindly agreed to do a Q and A Session for Irish Short Story Month and I am very honored by her participation so look for that soon.

Mel u

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