Staff Picks Short Stories

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FictionIf you’re partial to a good short story collection, here are a few suggestions from our esteemed colleague Brian.
Grab your library card, click on the link to reserve your copy and enjoy!

Cover of Dont Try this At HomeCover of Young Skins
Don’t Try This at Home by Angela Readman
‘Don’t Try This At Home’ by Angela Readman is a great collection of short stories published by the quirkily-named And Other Stories. The long list of people thanked at the back suggests some class of crowd funding.
The story ‘There’s A Woman Works Down The Chip Shop’ is an absolute cracker. It contains the following pithy encapsulation of a life (well, part of a life) – “She left school, got a job at the dogs and married the bloke who set the rabbit running”. However don’t let me distract you with a dog-track side-show but  rather read this story to discover the hilarity and pathos of the chip shop. Rock ‘n’ roll!
There Are Little Kingdoms by Kevin Barry
The China Factory by Mary Costello
Pond by Claire-Louise Bennett
Young Skins by Colin Barrett
Show Them A Good Time by Nicole Flattery (hot off the presses!)

China Factory CoverCover of Pond
I’ve always said if I ever saw a Stinging Fly short-story collection on a bestseller list I’d eat founding co-editor Declan Meade’s shorts, so thanks to Nicole Flattery’s ‘Show Them A Good Time’, here goes. I’m really looking forward to reading Nicole’s book. With no offence to Declan, I’ve always liked to consider Kevin Barry to be the godfather of the current wave of fabulous short-story writing in Ireland (much of which published by Stinging Fly). Here’s a sentence from Kevin:- “A woman called Mairead got up and smoothed down her good blouse and did an outstanding version of ‘Wind Beneath My Wings’” (story ‘See The Tree, How Big It’s Grown’ collection ‘There Are Little Kingdoms’). Despite playing fast and loose with ‘and’ here I reckoned this guy was going places and boy I wasn’t wrong. If there’s such thing as a near-perfect short story how about Mary Costello’s ‘The China Factory’ (collection ‘The China Factory’) or Colin Barrett’s ‘The Clancy Kid’ (collection ‘Young Skins’)? For a perfect story look no further than Claire-Louise Bennett’s ‘Finishing Touch’ (collection ‘Pond’). Since reading ‘Pond’ I’ve become somewhat obsessed (in a good way) with Claire-Louise and dream of solving her cooker-knob problem (story ‘Control Knobs’) using my brother’s paper-clamp collection and being thanked by her with “melodious condescension” (‘Finishing Touch’). Like the guy in the curry-sauce ad says – “oooooooh!”.

Cover of Little Kingdoms Cover of Show them a Good Time

Happy reading!

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