The Anchor Book of New Irish Writing

The Anchor Book of New Irish Writing

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by John Somer
     
 

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An Anchor Paperback Original

An intelligent, sophisticated cross-section of Irish short fiction, ideal for casual readers and classrooms alike, that showcases where Irish writers are now, as well as where they are headed.

The contemporary Irish short story, perhaps even more than the novel, provides vital critical clues and guideposts for anyone interested in

Overview

An Anchor Paperback Original

An intelligent, sophisticated cross-section of Irish short fiction, ideal for casual readers and classrooms alike, that showcases where Irish writers are now, as well as where they are headed.

The contemporary Irish short story, perhaps even more than the novel, provides vital critical clues and guideposts for anyone interested in twentieth-century Irish writing—the Irish, after all, have always been a nation of storytellers, and the current practioners of this ancient tradition are in the process of exploding and rediefining the form.

The Anchor Book of New Irish Writing features a group of writers whose influence is already strongly felt in Irish literature, and who deserve to be better known in American, among them Aidan Matthews and Anne Enright.  The stories themselves are beautifully written, well-chosen by the editors, and presented in such a way as to guide readers through the fascinating dramatic, structural, and technical themes explored by contemporary Irish stories.  The result is a rich sampling of these writers including the work of more familiar ones-from Elizabetth Bowen to Neil Jordan-a collection that promises to introduce the new classics of Irish literature to a wider audience.

List of contributors:
Elizabeth Bowen
John Banville
Desmond Hogan
Bernard McLaverty
Cherry Smyth
Clare Boylan
Rita Kelly
Maeve Binchy
Anne Devlin
Evelyn Conlon
Emma Donoghue
Aiden Matthews
Anne Enright
Patrick McCabe
Rohan Sheenan
Michael O'Loughlin
Eamonn Sweeney
Marcy Dorcey
Ellis Ní Dhuibhne
Joseph O'Connor
Colum McCann
Neil Jordan                        

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Eschewing the usual norm for anthologies, which generally go for a canonical summation of a literature or a genre, Somer, a professor in Kansas, and Ireland-based editor Daly freeze-frame the changing literary scene in Ireland in this collection of 23 stories and a novella. Somer and Daly have also loosely but cleverly structured this volume to reflect the different directions being taken by Irish writers young and old. Boldly, they begin with "Summer Night" by Elizabeth Bowen, who died in 1973, a finely polished tale about marital troubles and familial deceit in which Bowen asks for "new forms of thinking and feeling." It is an ideal way to start a book that displays the efforts of later Irish writers to find these new forms. The endeavors range from the early stirring magicalism of John Banville, through the closely observed domesticities of Maeve Binchy, to sundry unsuccessful efforts by the likes of lesser-knowns (Evelyn Conlon, Emma Donahue) in a section titled "Telling" (although Patrick McCable's "The Hands of Dingo Deery" succeeds mightily). Another section, "Persona," introduces some forms of which Bowen might have approved--Eamonn Sweeney's circular tale, "Lord McDonald," and ilis Ni Dhuibhne's Carveresque "The Garden of Eden." Colum McCann stakes out his own section named after his famous story, "Fishing the Sloe-Black River," in which his gift for deep imagery is in full force. "Cathal's Lake" tells of a man who keeps count of the lives lost to the sectarian struggles by diligently unearthing swans inexplicably entombed in the sand around his lake and setting the bird free to emblematic life upon the lake's surface at news of each death. The last entry is writer/filmmaker Neil Jordan's novella "The Dream of a Beast," which impressionistically renders subliminal images denuded of any rational or realistic context. Like Joyce's Ulysses, which 80 years ago offered myriad stylistic directions in which a literature might travel, this collection maps where many of the travelers are at this very moment. (Mar.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Library Journal
Pyrotechnic yet nourishing, playful yet earnest, and Irish yet universal is how the editors describe the contemporary Irish short story, a genre particularly cherished in this land of storytellers. Both students of Irish literature, Somer (English, Emporia State Univ.) and Daly (Open Univ., Great Britain) maintain that the majority of current writers are following James Joyce's example of examining Ireland's conscience and using a variety of styles; the selections here represent realism, postmodernism, and surrealism. The 23 writers collected are for the most part better known in Ireland than in America, and, except for Elizabeth Bowen (1899-1973), all were born after 1939 and came of age during a period of rapid change in Ireland. Bowen, representing an older literary order, is included because she foreshadows current Irish short stories that illustrate the "new forms for thinking and feeling" that she called for. Other authors included are John Banville, Maeve Binchy, Emma Donoghue, Neil Jordan, and Bernard MacLaverty. Recommended for public and academic libraries.--Denise J. Stankovics, Rockville P.L., Vernon, CT Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780385498890
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/29/2000
Edition description:
1 ANCHOR
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.75(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

John Somer is a professor of English at Emporia State University in Emporia, Kansas, and has long been a student of Yeats and Joyce. John Daly is both an Associate Lecturer at Great Britain's Open University and managing editor at C. J. Fallon publishers in Ireland.

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