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, March 10, 2014

"Pirates" by Judith Mok (2006, in Scéalta: Short Stories by Irish Women edited by Rebecca O'Connor)

Event Resources  Everyone Is Invited to Join Us for Irish Short Story Month Year Four

Ways to Participate-do a post on your blog and let me know about it-I will keep a master list and I will publicize your post and blog.

If you are an Irish author and would like to be featured, please contact me.   There are several options open.

If you would like to do a guest post on my blog on anything related to Irish short stories, contact me

I first became acquainted with the vast accomplishments of Judith Mok during ISSM3 in 2013.   I was very pleased to find one of her excellent short stories in an anthology I have.  Mok has deep Irish ties, she has done highly praised performances based on Molly Bloom.

Judith Mok was born in Bergen in the Netherlands. She has published three novels and three books of poetry as well as short stories. She has written for Radio and Newspapers. 

Her short stories have been short- listed twice for the Francis McManus award and her first novel The innocents at the Circus for the Prix de l’Academie Francaise. Her work has appeared nationally and internationally in literary magazines and Anthologies.

She travels the world working as an internationally acclaimed lyric soprano.

"Pirates" is a fascinating very insightful story centering on a young man from Iran living in Dublin.  The story time frame is set shortly after the death of the Shah of Iran (he calls him "the king") in 1979.  His mother still lives in Iran.  I assumed he moved to Dublin to expand his economic possibilities.  He is twenty years old and a virgin when we first meet him.  His mother had warned him about Irish women and the diseases she feared they could pass on to her son.  He ends up in bed with an Irish nurse who  assures him he safe with her.  She does not really remind him of a woman from home.  The woman wanted a baby and five months after their one and only encounter she shows up pregnant at his apartment.  She wants no part of him.  After the baby is born he seeks the woman out gives her all his savings and she slams the door in his face.  As the years go by, he keeps in occasional touch with his daughter, mostly over the phone.  We see him trying to adjust to life in Dublin.  He eats in an Iranian restaurant and keeps contact with his mother.   He wants very badly to be a good father.  

I do not want to tell more of the plot of this very intelligent and moving story.  The relationship between the father and daughter is very subtle.  We sense the girl knows her father is different ethnically but she is not quite old enough to understand.

"Pirates" is a first rate multi-dimensional story about the immigrant experience in Ireland.  Mok lets us see the man's struggles to be a good father.  

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