The Colours of Man

Micheal O Conghaile, Author
Micheal O Conghaile. Clo Iar-Chonnacht (Dufour, dist.), $23.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-908947-00-0
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This collection of 17 stories, many published elsewhere over a span of 26 years, is a varied and comprehensive survey of O Conghaile's short story work. Originally published in the Irish language, the pieces in this anthology utilize several translators which, in combination with the diverse subject matter, make this slim volume read like a variegated journey. Rendered largely in unadorned, short sentences with gloriously colloquial dialogue, the book is most fun and funny when its plainspoken Irish characters interact realistically with the often magical situations they inhabit, as happens in "Death at a Funeral" and "Seven Hundred Watches". There are many winners among the more straightforwardly realist stories as well, including more than one concerning the unique challenges of homosexuals in modern Irish culture (though "With These Hands" ends with an on-the-nose punchline that nearly ruins what its beginning had built). Highly recommended to fans of Patrick McCabe, it's also populated with strange, expressive line drawings by Brian Bourke. The stories are brief and numerous, and O Conghaile's batting average is impressive. (Apr.)
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