The Fallen: And Other Stories

John McKenna, Author, John MacKenna, Author
John McKenna, Author, John MacKenna, Author Blackstaff Press $15.95 (170p) ISBN 978-0-85640-495-5
Reviewed on: 11/03/1997
Release date: 11/01/1997
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This collection of nine interrelated short stories by an Irish writer appears agonizingly confessional at the outset, but later gains perspective and becomes freer in both narrative and tone. While most of its protagonists live in tightly knit rural communities in Ireland, they are unable to ignore their proximity to England and the rest of Europe. The title story plays itself out beautifully through contrasting letters between a conflicted Irishman fighting on the British side during World War I and his yearning mistress back home. Overall, these stories reflect the powerful influences of religion, which limits some character's lives while others endure theirs with defiant passion, particularly a lyrical yet realistic hewer of wood mourning the death of his wife. At her wake, after touching her hand with its ``blue veins grizzled against the tip of his finger,'' he realizes he cannot ``recapture everything at one time in one place.'' (Apr.)
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