Title: In The Air by Colin Barrett.
Date Read: 21st January 2011
Briefly: It may be bad enough training his under-sixteens in wet and windy conditions, but for Coach this particular Sunday is just about to get a whole lot worse.
Afterthoughts: This is the first time I’ve read anything from Irish writer Colin Barrett, but Oh Boy, what a powerful storyteller. Not only are his descriptions so vivid and crystalline that scene and setting are almost palpable (the opening paragraph of the story, quoted below, is a good example of this. Tell me it doesn’t make you shiver when you read it ), but Barrett also has this gift – as shown in this story at least – of inducing in the reader a strong sense of empathy for his main character. I don’t know if it’s simply the Irish connection but I feel that Barrett’s storytelling is very much similar to that of Kevin Barry’s. And although it would take a lot in my eyes to top anything that comes from the pen of Barry, Barrett comes close with this one. A good story. Memorable for the right reasons. Highly recommended.
Notable Quote: Sunday. Glanbeigh Stephanites boys’ under-sixteen football training. Morning rain, the parish turf soft underfoot, brown water puddling in the rutted goalmouths. It’s May, but a cold Atlantic gale heaves in over the galvanized roof of the north stand, making a noise like continuously ripping fabric. On the touchline, Coach consults his waterproof wristwatch, exhorts the boys to keep the pace up.
This time last year…
Title: Mother Catherine by Zora Neale Hurston.
Date Read: 21st January 2011
Briefly: The narrator takes the reader on a journey into the rather unique religious world of Mother Catherine.
Afterthoughts: In his introduction to this story Cal Morgan states that Zora Neale Hurston was one of the great lights of the Harlem Renaissance. This story shows why. Beautifully written with detailed descriptions, Hurston is so convincing and engaging in her storytelling that one feels that Mother Catherine is a living and breathing real life saint. Quite remarkable!
Notable Quote: Mother Catherine holds court in the huge tent. On a raised platform is her bed, a piano, instruments for a ten-piece orchestra, a huge coffee urn, a wood stove, a heater, chairs and rockers and tables. Backless benches fill the tent.
The reason for Fifty-Two Friday’s existence is a simple one: to acknowledge and support Harper Perennial’s kindness and effort in offering readers around the world free access to some of the greatest storytellers past and present, through their Fifty-Two Stories website.
Every Friday the current week’s offering on Fifty-Two Stories is read and reviewed, along with the story that was presented at the same time, last year (2010). Fellow readers are encouraged to participate whenever possible, and to offer up their own opinions on each week’s featured stories.