Stitch and Bear

A long-running Irish blog with reviews of the best restaurants in Dublin and throughout Ireland. Some wine and cocktails thrown in for good measure!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Country of the Grand - Gerald Donovan

I was pleased to receive another advance reading copy from Early Reviewers Group at LibraryThing and I especially looked forward to this collection of Irish short stories. The blurb described it as a collection of short stories about modern Ireland. As any Irish person will tell you, Ireland has changed beyond recognition in the last 10 years, and I hoped that this collection of stories would attempt to encapsulate what currently is Ireland.

I was a little disillusioned to read that the author lives in New York, and this feeling was compounded as I read the book. These are not a collection of stories of modern Ireland. They could belong to any era in any country. They are a set of stories dealing with loss, betrayal, aging and confusion. I didn't even find them particularly captivating or illuminating. We have a man who overhears his friends discussing his wife's infidelity in a changing room, a solicitor trying to recapture his youth and a widow dealing with her late husband's hidden life.

It appears that the author is drawing on his own experience and feelings, but never finds a way to move from these emotions or indeed deal with them.
It's a pity that these aren't a collection of stories more relevant to modern Ireland, and it's a greater pity that they're not particularly good.

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