Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Gerard Donovan's YOUNG IRELANDERS
Joseph O'Connor, author of Redemption Falls and Star of the Sea, has high praise for fellow Irishman Gerard Donovan, whose masterful collection of short stories, Young Irelanders, has just published: "I've admired Gerard Donovan's writing since I first discovered it, and I thought Julius Winsome was one of the finest Irish novels of the last decade. . . . If you could imagine a Raymond Carver of modern western Ireland, you'd be getting close to what Donovan does. But he's entirely his own artist, possessed of what John McGahern said every writer needs first: a way of seeing the world. These stories are perfectly realised, with an immensely impressive composure that would in itself make them important. But what makes them unforgettable is their tension and power. Some of them are absolutely heartbreaking, others funny, some both. The sparks do not fly in a Donovan short story but the beauty has a smoulder that burns long in the reader. He is a master of the form and a true original. This book, for all its darkness and strangeness and brokenness, gives a kind of miraculous hope. It's a collection that will hold its own beside Claire Keegan's Walk the Blue Fields, Colm Tóibín's Mothers and Sons, Philip O' Ceallaigh's Notes from a Turkish Whorehouse and Anne Enright's Taking Pictures as one of the most consistently remarkable books of Irish short stories in recent years.We're seeing something of a renaissance in this beautiful genre, which led many of us, as youngsters, to an interest in literature. If Gerard Donovan's work were to be put on the Leaving Cert English course, it could well have the same effect." - Joseph O'Connor, Sunday Business Post, July 13, 2008.