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 19, 2018

“The Call of the Sea” - A Short Story by Steve Wade

A Wide Ranging Q and A with Steve Wade. Including a link to his “Land of The Ever Young”. As well as my post

A Link to “Call of The Sea” by Steve Wade

I am very happy to be able to include a story by Steve Wade in this year’s Irish Short Story  Month.  I urge everyone interested in the short story, Irish Literature and culture to read his wide ranging Q and A session. I first read his work for Irish Short Story Month in March, 2013.  I return to his work with great pleasure.

“The Call of the Sea” shows us how the lead character, a financially stressed father, is influenced by his view of nature on a seaside walk and conversely how his state of mind shapes what aspects of the natural word he focuses upon.  It is also deals with the human  consequences of the fall of the Irish economy, the weak or missing Irish father (seen by Declan Kiberd, among others, as a dominant theme of Irish Literature),the impact of the closeness of the sea on the Irish psyche, and the sad growth of suicide in Ireland.  Additionally in just a few pages we feel a deep sympathy combined with an unavoidable aversion to the lead character.  We also must finally ponder was the lead character taking the weak way out or did he show great courage. Plus we are treated to an early morning sea coast walk.

As the story opens a man, married with children, wants to leave home early, before he will be stressed by his children needing food, a pain he finds hard to bear.  He looks at his car knowing it will be repossessed soon.  

“Early Sunday morning, before the trains and busses started. Not that he had the fare, but he might have chanced the Dart without a ticket. He’d got away with it before. He left their home in Ballsbridge, Dublin, before the kids awoke. Before their hungry cries clawed and slashed at the inside of his head. Before Jeannette began her wailing, her accusations and her threats.”

He begins a walk along the seashore, in the hopes watching the birds, who he knows well, will renew his spirits.  He notices a magpie, a large predatory bird, with a dove hatchling in her mouth.  She swallows it whole. He observes other species of birds struggling to feed themselves and their young.  He goes into a coffee shop and realising he cannot even afford coffee leaves.  He notices the clerk is of Asian descent, maybe he thinks is Ireland being stolen from the Irish?

He passes people but basically is sunk into a trough of despair.  I don’t want to tell the very powerful close of the story so I will just urge all lovers of the form to read this story.  At one point I falsely thought I saw the end coming but I did not. Wade’s account of the feelings of the man when he discovers the body of a young woman who has drowned herself are very powerful, almost painfully 

“Who she was, the memories she’d made, the people whose lives she had touched, and who had played a part in moulding hers, was irrelevant. Without knowing the details, he understood her plight. He respected the moment when, in despair, she chose another way – the bravest of choices.
There was something else he understood. It all made sense. As a husband to Jeanette, he had let her down. As a father to their two girls, he had failed. His impulse to get himself to where he now stood, with one step between atonement and failure, was written. The insurance payout would provide for them. Jeanette would have the means and the dignity to raise the girls into adulthood.”

Wade made me feel I was once again walking the Irish coast, his descriptions of the birds are wonderful.  He even works a drunk into the story!

I hope to post on one of Wade’s stories in April and another in May

Stephen Wade is a prize nominee for the PEN/O’Henry Award, 2011, and a prize nominee for the Pushcart Prize, 2013. Wade’s fiction has been published in over thirty-five print publications. His unpublished novel ‘On Hikers’ Hill’ was awarded First Prize in the UK abook2read Literary Competition, December 2010. Among the publications in which is work appears are: Crannog, Zenfri Publications, New Fables, Gem Street, Grey Sparrow, Fjords Arts and Literary Review, and Aesthetica Creative Works Annual, 2011 and 2015.

Mel u

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