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, October 1, 2014

"Dinosaurs On Other Planets" by Danielle McLaughlin (from The New Yorker, September 15, 2014)

Ethel Rohan's Guest Post on Danielle McLaughlin

My Q and A with Danielle McLaughlin

I have been following the literary career of Danielle McLaughlin for almost there years now. She has very kindly participated in a wide ranging very informative Q and A session which anyone interested in the short story should read.  I have posted on three of her short stories.   One of the very rewarding aspects of blogging on contemporary writers is seeing them gain increasing recognition for their talents.  For a short story writer being published in The New Yorker Is about as good as it gets.  I was very happy to find Danielle's story "Dinosaurs On Other Planets" in the September 15th issue.   It is the title story of a collection of her short stories being published next year by The Stinging Fly.  The Stinging Fly is Ireland's leading literary journal and a world class publication of high quality short stories and poetry.   They launched the career of Kevin Barry and published the 2014 Frank O'Connor Prize Best Short Story collection winner Young Skins by Colin Barry.  

One of my purposes here is to let my readers know that this story can be read online. (I will include a link at the close of the post.)  "Dinosaurs On Other Planets" is set in rural Ireland.  In just a few pages Danielle does a masterful job of letting us see many years of family dynamics.  One of the things one sees through out Irish literature is the treatment of the surface emotional reticence of the Irish.   You can see this in Dubliners and Patrick Kavanagh's majestic poem, "The Great Hunger".  "Dinosaurs On Other Planets" is in this great tradition.   The story is set at the home of a long married couple.  The wife is fifty one, the husband much older.  He is retired and spends a lot of time wood working.   They have not slept together for a year and their living in London now adult daughter's bedroom is where the husband now sleeps.

The daughter is coming with her son and her new boyfriend for a visit.  The parents don't want her or their grandson to know they are estranged.  There is no hate, the passion, if there ever was much, is gone.  I don't want to reveal more of the plot.  I think you will enjoy finding out what the story has to do with dinosaurs on other planets, I did.

Declain  Kiberd has said the dominant theme of modern Irish literature is that of the weak or missing Irish father.  In my opinion this story exemplifies this.  Danielle talks about this in her Q and A.

You can find the story here 

I greatly enjoyed reading this story and I am avidly looking forward to her collection.  

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, 
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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