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

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

"Unholy Living and Half Dying" by Sean O'Faoláin. (1952)

 Sean O'Faolain is one of Ireland's highest regarded short story writers.  In 2013 I posted on his superb story about an unfaithful woman,  "The Faithless Wife", his very classic story, "The Trout" and "The Sinners".  

Sean O'Faolain (1900 to 1991-Cork City, Ireland) was the son of a policeman.   He fought in the Irish War for Independence,  1919 to 1921.    He received M.A. degrees from the National University of Ireland and Harvard.   He  was the director of a very prestigious Irish literary journal, The Bell.  His daughter Julia O'Faolain is a Booker Prize nominated author.   

This will be my last post for Irish Short Story Month Year Five.  I kept it a simple low key event this year, I just read a few wonderful stories.  

"Unholy Living and Half Dying" centers on a single man, working in a bank and living in a rooming house.   (Rooming houses, land ladies, neighbors and such played a big part in literary works up until at least the 1950s or so.) I really loved these opening lines:

"J A C K Y C A R D E W is one of those club bachelors who are so well groomed, well preserved, pomaded, medicated, cated, and self-cosseted that they seem ageless-the sort of fixture about whom his pals will say when he comes unstuck around the age of eighty, `Well, well! Didn't poor old Jacky Cardew go off very fast in the end?' For thirty years or so he has lived in what are called Private Hotels".

The story revolves around the relationship of Jacky, his land lady, his pub friends and the local priest.

I read this story in Classic Irish Short Stories edited by Frank O'Connor.

Mel u

No comments: