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

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Walk the Blue Fields by Claire Keegan (2007, 181 pages, 8 short stories)

Last month in a book store in Killarney I acquired two collections of short stories  that have secured my belief that the best days of the Irish short story are still  to come.  One of the books was Dark Lies the Island by Kevin Barry.  The other is a work I have just completed, Walk the Blue Fields by Claire Keegan.  (Last year I read and posted on her debut collection, Antarctica.)

I was deeply moved by the stories in Walk the Blue Fields.  I will reread, I hope, some of them numerous times.  Keegan (1968, County Wicklow, Ireland) has received many honors and intense praise online and in print reviews.   Her work, in my opinion, is clearly in the tradition of Dubliners and the stories of John McGhern.  They are very rooted in Ireland mostly in the Rural west.  The people in the stories are often deeply alone.  These are sad stories of people some how left out, often centering on people who have faced terrible losses, isolates.   There is a deep wisdom in these stories but in a way it is a wisdom that will harm, not help, those who can understand the pain in these works.  I think it maybe that only partially damaged people can fully relate to these stories.  I know that may not make sense to most people and perhaps you are better of that way.  These stories are superb works of art.  In the last story, "Night of the Quicken Trees" I felt my ability to understand this story was well enhanced by my recent visit, in the company of my brother Max u,  to the west of Ireland.  

I hope to read more of her stories as time goes on.  

Mel u

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