The Collected Stories

Overview

These 34 funny, tragic, bracing, and acerbic stories represent the complete short fiction of one of Ireland's finest living writers. On struggling farms, in Dublin's rain-drenched streets, or in parched exile in Franco's Spain, McGahern's characters wage a confused but touching war against the facts of life.

Gathered in one volume for the first time, the complete short stories of one of today's most acclaimed Irish writers. McGahern combines a rich, lyrically ...

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Overview

These 34 funny, tragic, bracing, and acerbic stories represent the complete short fiction of one of Ireland's finest living writers. On struggling farms, in Dublin's rain-drenched streets, or in parched exile in Franco's Spain, McGahern's characters wage a confused but touching war against the facts of life.

Gathered in one volume for the first time, the complete short stories of one of today's most acclaimed Irish writers. McGahern combines a rich, lyrically powerful language and keen observation and understanding to render the most elemental and profound human drama from the the ordinary moments of everyday life.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
McGahern is best known for his grim novels of Irish life, and readers of The Barracks, The Leavetaking and The Pornographer will immediately recognize his deft handiwork in these 35 stories. Operating fully within his country's vaunted short-story tradition (Frank O'Connor, Mary Lavin, et al.), McGahern meticulously builds prolonged moments of stasis, wherein accumulations of character and detail do not advance a story as much as deepen its roots. In the extraordinary ``Swallows,'' the stultifying Irish country life is brightened for a moment by a Dublin traveler who plays Paganini on a Stradivarius, only to find his hosts asking for a bit of ``Danny Boy.'' ``Doorways,'' a tale of unrequited love, is formally and thematically framed by the presence of Beckettian vagabonds who offer wry but silent commentary. Although McGahern returns again and again to the same themes--emotional repression, poverty of mind and spirit, the ever-salubrious effects of stout and whiskey--he does so with an impressive and sometimes surprising range of characters (a gay fondler in ``Lavin,'' a vulnerable translator of Chekhov and Mayakovsky in ``The Beginning of an Idea''). In the end, what distinguishes McGahern's work is not his cold assessment of life in Ireland, but his ability to fan dying embers into temporary glow. (Feb.)
Library Journal
Set mostly in Dublin and rural Ireland, McGahern's complex and thoughtful stories concern missed opportunities, lost loves, and an inability to communicate. ``Like All Other Men'' concerns a man who left the priesthood only to fall in love with a woman who is becoming a nun. In ``Korea,'' a young man is shocked by his father's plans for him to go to America, where he would be drafted and his father would profit by his death. In a series of stories, the narrator has left his father's farm for an education and life in Dublin, which his father will never forgive. Master storyteller McGahern ( Amongst Women, LJ 8/90) evokes place and feeling with lyrical prose that imbues his stories with a sweet melancholy. Full of insight into the essential aloneness of man, these stories are to be read slowly, savoring each perfectly chosen word. Highly recommended.-- Patricia Ross, Westerville P.L., Ohio
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679744016
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/28/1994
  • Series: Vintage International
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 831,276
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.92 (d)

Meet the Author

John McGahern was the author of five highly acclaimed novels and four collections of short stories. His novel Amongst Women won the GPA Book Award and the Irish Times Award, was short-listed for the Booker Prize, and was made into a four-part BBC television series. He had been a visiting professor at Colgate University and at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, and was the recipient of the Society of Authors’ Award, the American-Irish Award, and the Prix Étrangère Ecureuil, among other awards and honors. His work appeared in anthologies and was translated into many languages. He died in 2006.
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Table of Contents

Wheels 3
Why We're Here 12
Coming into his Kingdom 16
Christmas 23
Hearts of Oak and Bellies of Brass 29
Strandhill, the Sea 39
The Key 45
Korea 54
Lavin 59
My Love, My Umbrella 65
Peaches 75
The Recruiting Officer 100
The Beginning of an Idea 112
A Slip-up 127
All Sorts of Impossible Things 133
Faith, Hope and Charity 146
The Stoat 152
Doorways 158
The Wine Breath 178
Along the Edges 188
Swallows 200
Gold Watch 211
Parachutes 226
A Ballad 239
Oldfashioned 249
Like All Other Men 272
Eddie Mac 281
Crossing the Line 295
High Ground 306
Sierra Leone 316
The Conversion of William Kirkwood 331
Bank Holiday 350
The Creamery Manager 366
The Country Funeral 374
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