Gateway to Ethel Rohan on The Reading Life
I first began following the work of Ethel Rohan March 13, 2012. Since then I have posted eleven times on her works. She also kindly contributed a guest post and participated in a Q and A session. Obviously I hold her in great esteem. You can see my feelings in this selection from an old post.
My thoughts on Ethel Rohan, from March 2014
“Last year I read a story, "Beast and the Bear" by Ethel Rohan, a totally new to me at the time writer. I read it during Emerging Irish Women Writers Week. I never expected to read a story during this week that I would end up regarding as belonging with the greatest short stories of all time. I read it four times in a row I was so amazed. Since I read that story for the first time, I have read, I estimate, at least 1000 other short stories including most of the consensus best short stories in the world. After reading "Beast and the Bear" again yesterday and this morning I am completely convinced it should already be counted among the world's greatest short stories. I was in fact so shocked by the power of this story that I wanted to be sure I was not overreacting. I sent a fellow book blogger whose taste I know to be exquisite and educated through decades of reading short stories and she said only the very best short stories she had ever read, she is noted authority on Virginia Woolf, could compare to it. I know this sounds hyperbolic but it is how I feel. I do not lightly say a short story written by an author I had never heard of the day before I read it belongs with the work of the greatest of short story writers but that is my opinion. In a way I felt a sense of satisfaction in that I am open enough in my perceptions and judgments to be able to make such an assertion.”
Since I wrote this Rohan has published three collections of short stories, a memoir about Dublin and a highly reviewed debut novel, The Weight of Him.
Yesterday I was pleased to discover that she has just published a new short story “Hard to Say” in The Irish Times (readable online.) Rohan often writes about how psychic hurts from long ago linger
on, impacting in ways even the injured may not fully understand. Even a small can longer for a life time.
The central character in “Hard to Say is a teachers in a Girl’s School and lives with her boyfriend. When she was sixteen her best friend Hazel disappeared. The pain of this often returns as an involunary memory. To make it all worse her boyfriend, who works in a big office, has a new employee named Hazel that he is dumb enough to talk about a lot with her. She cannot help but think “what if this is my Hazel”.
The closing of the plot is very interesting.
I enjoyed this story a lot, just as I knew I would.
I hope to follow her work for many more years.
Bio Data from author’s website
“Ethel Rohan’s writing often centers on the body—its joys, secrets, memory, urges, splendor, and horrors. When she writes, she’s stolen away.
Rohan’s debut novel The Weight of Him (St. Martin’s Press and Atlantic Books, 2017) was an Amazon, Bustle, KOBO, and San Francisco ChronicleBest Book. The Weight of Himwon a Plumeri Fellowship, Silver Nautilus Award, the Northern California Publishers and Authors’ Award, and was shortlisted for the Reading Women Award.
She is also the author of two story collections, Goodnight Nobodyand Cut Through the Bone, the former longlisted for The Edge Hill Prize and the latter longlisted for The Story Prize. She wrote, too, the award-winning chapbook Hard to Say(PANK, Editor Roxane Gay) and the award-winning e-memoir single, Out of Dublin(Shebooks, Editor Laura Fraser).
Rohan was longlisted for The Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award, winner of the Bryan MacMahon Short Story Award,and shortlisted for the CUIRT, Roberts, and Bristol Short Story Prizes. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, World Literature Today, PEN America, The Washington Post, Tin House Online, The Irish Times, and GUERNICA, among many others. She has reviewed books for New York Journal of Books, and elsewhere.
Her stories have also published in various anthologies including Without You: Living With Loss (Ballpoint Press, 2018); Reading the Future: New Writing from Ireland(Arlen House, 2018); THE LINEUP: 20 Provocative Women Writers(Black Lawrence Press, 2015); Winesburg, Indiana(Indiana University Press, 2015); DRIVEL: Deliciously Bad Writing by Your Favorite Authors(Penguin: Perigee, 2014). She is also a contributor and associate editor to the anthology Flash Fiction International(W.W. Norton, 2015).
Rohan has taught writing or was a featured author at Listowel Writers’ Week, Belfast Book Festival, The London Short Story Festival; The Abroad Writers’ Conference; Los Gatos-Listowel Writers’ Week; the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Festival, Book Passage Corte Madera; San Francisco State University; San Francisco Writers’ Grotto; San Francisco Writers’ Conference; Green Mountain Writers’ Conference; among others. Born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, Rohan lives in San Francisco where she received her MFA in fiction from Mills College and is a member of The Writers Grotto.”
I have great faith in The Future of Ethel Rohan
Mel u l