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

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A DIFFERENT COUNTRY by DANIELLE MCLAUGHLIN (From Issue 23 Volume Two – Winter 2013 The Stinging Fly)

Today is the last day to vote for the Irish Short Story of the Year 2013

"Though it was autumn, the cliffside was still lush with greenery, fuchsia bright in the ditches, heathers blooming rust and orange in the bogs beyond. It was almost too beautiful, she thought, the colours too pure, the light too fantastical. It was as if she was driving through the landscape of a computer game, the steering wheel her console, and the walls of the too-white cottages might crumble as she passed, revealing dark, monstrous creatures with the gristle of Spanish sailors between their teeth. She glanced at Jonathan in the passenger seat beside her and for a moment she did not know him, and Dublin, her home, the university, all seemed very far away." 

    This year, sponsored by, there are six finalists for Irish Short Story of The Year.  All can thankfully be read for free online.  The Irish are the acknowledged masters of this form. Two of the six writers have graciously done Q and A sessions on The Reading Life, Danielle McClaughlin and Billy O'Callaghan.  Colin Barrett has graciously agreed to also do a Q and A and I will soon post on his wonderful debut collection, Young Skins.   I am looking forward to first for me readings of the other four writers.  

I will read them in the order below starting with "Bait" by Colin Barrett Short Story of the Year Award Shortlist Revealed

In alphabetical order (click on each title for further information) the six shortlisted short stories are:

BAIT by COLIN BARRETT (From Young Skins – Stinging Fly Press)


A DIFFERENT COUNTRY by DANIELLE MCLAUGHLIN (From Issue 23 Volume Two – Winter 2013 The Stinging Fly)

HOW I BEAT THE DEVIL by PAUL MURRAY (From Town and Country: New Irish Short Stories – Faber & Faber)

THE THINGS WE LOSE, THE THINGS WE LEAVE BEHIND by BILLY O’CALLAGHAN (From The Things We Lose, The Things We Leave Behind – New Island)

THE DAY THINGS CHANGED by NIAMH O’CONNOR (From If I Was A Child Again – Poolbeg Press)

Read the individual entries here and click to go to the Irish Book Awards website to vote for your favourite!  

I have been following the work of Danielle McLaughlin for some time.  I have posted on two of her earlier short stories, Ethel Rohan has kindly done a guest post on one of her stories, (also from The Stinging Fly), and McLaughlin did very interesting Q and A for my blog during Irish Short Story Month III.  I was not at all surprised to see one of her stories was a finalist for the 2013 Irish Short Story of the Year Award.  

"A Different Country" by Danielle McLaughlin is a very powerful story centering on the visit of a woman from Dubin, in the company of her boyfriend, to his family home in rural Ireland.  Both are university students.   She seems to be a Dublin person.   They are visiting his brother and his pregnant girlfriend, almost ready to deliver. The woman feels left out as the talk turns to people from her boyfriend's past.  They are on the Irish seacoast, one of the world's most beautiful places.  In the quotation at the start of this post the almost overpowering beauty, especially for an urban person, is marvelously captured.  Rural life is not all basking in the beauty.  In a very dramatic scene the woman sees and may join in a violent hunt for seals, who steal catches from the nets of fisherman.   

The country breems with life, from the near to birth girl friend to the potential deadly sea.  The woman begins to see her boyfriend in a different way as she gradually goes from a Dublin university accent to a country one.  

There is a lot more in this very rich story.   I hope very much to continue to follow McLaughlin's work. 

The Q and A contains links to my prior posts on McLaughlin and Ethel Rohan's guest post.

Danielle McLaughlin lives in County Cork, Ireland. Her stories have appeared or are forthcoming in The Stinging Fly, The Salt Anthology of New Writing 2013, Willesden Herald New Short Stories 7, The Long Story Short, The Irish Times, The Burning Bush 2, Inktears, Southword, Boyne Berries,
Crannóg, Hollybough, on the RTE TEN website, on RTE Radio and in various anthologies. She has won a number of prizes for short fiction, including the Writing Spirit Award for Fiction 2010, The From the Well Short Story Competition 2012, The William Trevor/Elizabeth Bowen International Short Story Competition 2012, the Willesden Herald Short Story Competition 2012-2013 and the Merriman Short Story Competition in memory of Maeve Binchy.

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