Literary reviews by Tim Love.
Warning: Rather than reviews, these are often notes in preparation for reviews that were never finished, or pleas for help with understanding pieces. See Litref Reviews - a rationale for details.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

"Lantern Slides" by Edna O'Brien (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1990)

I was impressed by her "Paradise" story in an anthology, so I got this collection from the library.

"oft in the stilly night" is addressed to a passive "you", the putative reader.

  • "You are passing through, on your way to somewhere livelier. You would never dream that so many restless souls reside here, dreaming of a different destiny. As you enter you see a stone, Roman-type church … You would not suspect that in the big house with the wrought-iron gateway and a winding overgrown avenue a wife went a bit peculiar", p.3
  • "You would not known, either, that in the main street, in the row of imitation Georgian houses, many fracas lurk", p.7
  • "Yes, you would pass houses where there are drunks", p.8

It ends on p.23 with a final paragraph starting "Now I ask you, what would you do? Would you comfort Ita … Perhaps your own village is much the same, perhaps everywhere is, perhaps pity is a luxury and deliverance a thing of the past"

"Epitaph" begins "When first I met you". In this case the 'you' is a character in the plot.

Other stories deal with visiting old parents, brother/sister incest, a mother going on holiday with her son and his fiance. Then more holidays, more visits to relatives, Irish village gossip and continental beaches. There's none of the spareness and power of "Paradise".

No comments:

Post a Comment