High Ground

High Ground

by John McGahern
     
 

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Those who have called John McGahern a modern Chekhov are struck by his ability to transform commonplace experiences into moments of epiphany. In “Parachutes,” the narrator reels in the aftermath of a breakup with the woman he loves; “Oldfashioned” isthe story of Johnny, a country boy oddly drawn to the elderly English couple for whom he

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Overview

Those who have called John McGahern a modern Chekhov are struck by his ability to transform commonplace experiences into moments of epiphany. In “Parachutes,” the narrator reels in the aftermath of a breakup with the woman he loves; “Oldfashioned” isthe story of Johnny, a country boy oddly drawn to the elderly English couple for whom he represents the son they lost in the War; and in “Eddie Mac” and “The Conversion of William Kirkwood,” a wealthy family and its hired help learn that the relationship of master and servant is the most enduring relationship of all.

In High Ground, John McGahern displays all of his acclaimed mastery, and both deepens and extends the world of his generous imagination.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The prevailing tone in this modest collection of stories by the Irish novelist is civil, deliberately subdued, even slightly depressed, warily watchful of a world of which not much can be expected. In the title story, a young man is offered a desirable academic appointment by a devious politician at the expense of a beloved old teacher who would be ousted to make way for his successor. Whether he will accept the tainted offer is the moral conundrum of the tale, a subtle one undercut by some awkward narrative devices and an ending that is essentially a trick, a facile shortcut. In the final story, the love of a young American visitor in Dublin and a middle-aged lawyer is a little too effortless, too easily achieved. But the author's strength lies not in the portrayal of love won but in setting an atmospheregray, bleak, drizzlyof loss, desolation. That, the stories seem to say, is how life goes, on both the high ground and in the low-lying, boggy terrain of modern Ireland. (February)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780140177084
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/28/1993
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
160
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.40(d)

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