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 23, 2015

"Yellow Leaning to Gold" by Shauna Gilligan (2015). - A Short Story by the Author of Happiness Comes from Nowhere

My Q and A Session with Shauna Gilligan (includes links to more posts by and about her)

I first became acquainted with the work of Shauna Gilligan during Irish Short Story Month in March, 2012 and I have been following her work ever since then.  I loved her highly regarded debut novel Happiness Comes From Nowhere,  she kindly did a guest post on Desmond Hogan and I have posted on several of her wonderful short stories.

I was happy to see Gilligan has a short story in a just starting literary journal The Lonely Crowd:  The New Home of the Short Story.  (There is a link at the close of my post).     My main purpose here is to let my readers know of the opportunity to read "Yellow Leaning to Gold" and to journalise my continued reading of Gilligan.

The brief story centers on five years passing in the marriage of a prototypically ordinary married couple.  As the story opens the man has just proposed marriage and tried to be  proud when his wife told him she was changing her name to his, "Brennan".  You can see Gilligan's elegant charged prose in these opening lines:

"It was a name which was neither specific nor personal. Brennan could have belonged to any male in Ireland, at any time.

When Eileen married him and took his name, Brennan desperately wanted to feel flattered. He tried the angle that women were not doing this sort of thing any more. But Eileen just laughed, told him she loved him. She kissed his cheek.

‘Besides,’ she said, ‘Eileen Brennan works.

With a crackle of clarity, Brennan realised that like him, the beautiful Eileen would be condemned to a life of mediocrity."

We next meet Brennan five years later.  It is his fifth wedding anniversary and he is on his normal forty-five minute train ride home.  He has a decent job.    I loved the scene where he watched a woman put on her make up.  It is kind of a metaphor for his life.  The subdued closing brings him full circle.  We see what begins as a blessing can return as a something very different,  

You can read "Yellow Leaning to Gold" by Shauna Gilligan at

Official Author Bio 

Shauna Gilligan‘s short fiction and reviews have been published in places such as The Stinging Fly (Ireland), New Welsh Review (UK) and Cobalt (USA). She holds a PhD (Writing) from the University of South Wales and teaches writing as part of the Arts Council of Ireland Writers in Prisons Panel. Her first novel, Happiness Comes from Nowhere (London, Ward Wood: 2012), was described by the Sunday Independent in Ireland as a ‘thoroughly enjoyable and refreshingly challenging debut novel.

Mel u

No comments: