THEREBELSANDOTHERSHORTFICTION RICHARD POWER (JAMES MacKILLOP ED.) Syracuse, $24.95
The narrative voices are many and varied in this wide-ranging, excellent collection from the gifted Irish writer, Richard Power, who died so young. Readers of his wonderful novel,
The Hungry Grass, will be familiar with his skill of conveying character in a few well-chosen phrases, also strongly in evidence in these stories. As he died nearly 50 years ago, it’s no surprise that some stories relate to an Ireland now almost gone forever, when rural children still brought sods of turf to school (The Rebels),
farmers sold their cattle in small-town fair greens (Peasants) and Travellers camped on roadsides (Neighbours and Pilgrim). Others, however, are modern, such as The Pill, where a knowing teenager runs rings round her parents; many are timeless, such as The Letter,
where the male narrator is deeply disappointed an overture he makes to a young woman doesn’t evoke the hoped-for response, and
Deór na hAithrí (here in both the original Irish and in translation), a desperately sad story of a deserted wife and mother. Congratulations to James MacKillop for keeping Power’s work before us.