SHORT STO­RIES

EITHNE FARRY

Irish Daily Mail - - It’s Friday! -

YOU THINK IT, I’LL SAY IT by Cur­tis Sit­ten­feld (Dou­ble­day €20.50)

THE ten sto­ries in Sit­ten­feld’s first col­lec­tion are a to­tal treat.

Savvy and rue­fully wise, she bur­rows be­neath the shiny sur­face of her well-to-do char­ac­ters and un­earths the flawed think­ing that leads to mis­un­der­stand­ings and emo­tional up­set.

Her dis­il­lu­sioned lovers, vaguely un­happy par­ents and dis­sat­is­fied em­ploy­ees mis­judge other peo­ple, while in the grip of laugh­able, de­li­cious self-delu­sion.

There’s a glee­ful ex­plo­ration of the work­ing re­la­tion­ship be­tween a jour­nal­ist and a pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee — read Hil­lary Clin­ton — in The Nom­i­nee; an emo­tion­ally non-com­mit­tal man in­volved with his brother’s part­ner in Plau­si­ble De­ni­a­bil­ity; and a wife who de­vel­ops an en­tirely one-sided crush on her bitch­ses­sion com­pan­ion, who dev­as­tat­ingly re­veals ‘you’re fun to talk to’.

But that doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily mean any­thing beyond it­self in The World Has Many But­ter­flies.#

THE SING OF THE SHORE by Lucy Wood (4th Es­tate €18.20)

THE sounds of the sea and the weather rip­ple through these eerie, ex­cep­tional sto­ries set in a Corn­wall that is, by turns, moody and melan­choly, won­der-filled and woe­be­gone.

The col­lec­tion opens with Home Scar and a ‘cow­shitty sea’, where a rest­less young boy and his ram­shackle friends break into a hol­i­day home.

It closes with By-The-WindSailors, in which the ‘east­er­lies cut across like scythes’ and a hard-up fam­ily tries to make the best of liv­ing in a car­a­van.

In be­tween are tales of haunted houses, surfers hop­ing not to be wiped out by life and a reck­less, across-the-rocks trea­sure hunt that ends in an un­ex­pected emo­tional rev­e­la­tion.

LAST STO­RIES by Wil­liam Trevor (Vik­ing €17.95)

THERE’S a world of melan­choly in these fi­nal sto­ries from Trevor — a world where lies, in­fi­delity, ex­tor­tion, theft and fick­le­ness tip-tilt the lives of char­ac­ters who are al­ready strug­gling fi­nan­cially and emo­tion­ally.

Trevor’s prose style is ef­fort­less, el­e­gant and eco­nom­i­cal, but man­ages to con­tain the most hugely dif­fi­cult feel­ings: jeal­ousy, guilt and a yearn­ing re­gret.

A for­saken wife tries to come to terms with the death of her un­faith­ful hus­band (At The Caffe Daria); a pi­ano teacher ac­cepts that her most gifted pupil is also steal­ing from her — ‘there was a bal­ance struck: it was enough’ (The Pi­ano Teacher’s Pupil); and, in The Crip­pled Man, a woman con­ceals the death of her cousin in or­der to keep his pen­sion com­ing in.

A truly bleak, but beau­ti­ful col­lec­tion.

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