Friday, September 5, 2008

The last one in the challenge for me ...

I have really enjoyed this challenge - and even though this post is about the final item I read in the list I prepared for it, I'm coming across so many more short stories that I want to read as I see others' comments and the titles they've chosen. So thank you for expanding my short story horizons!

In Sunshine or in Shadow : Stories by Irish Women, edited by Kate Cruise O'Brien, and Mary Maher, is a collection of short stories written by women from Ireland, and those of Irish descent. They are contemporary stories, many of them about women at the time of the referendum to legalize divorce in Ireland in the 1990s. This was my final choice in the Short Story Challenge.

Like any short story collection, there were some stories I liked much more than others. As a whole, the stories are all at least interesting. My particular favorites were "Taximen Are Invisible" by Maeve Binchy, "The Orphan" by Mary Dorcey, and "Bishop's House" by Mary Gordon (who is one of my favorite authors anyway). Many of the themes are universal, but with an Irish sensibility, which added a different aspect to them. I am always interested to read a story or a novel where I can identify with a basic theme or character, but some part of the whole is literally or figuratively foreign to me.

The editors did an excellent job of choosing what stories to include, in my opinion. There was a good balance of the serious, funny, poignant, ironic, and surprising. I would say that it is worth giving at least one or two of the stories a read, and who knows, you may meet some new writers along the way.

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