Nearly known



I have always been fascinated by something singular in the short story form, which is a bit different to the novel. I can’t put my finger on it, but maybe it is what Frank O’Connor referred to as ‘an intense awareness of human loneliness’ (The Lonely Voice, 1963).

Another great Irish short story writer, Sean O’ Faolain noted that, ‘the most I have ever managed to say about the short story is that it is about a change. Something has changed. Something is known at the end of a story – or nearly known- that was not known before. We are on our own.’

I love that ‘nearly known’, that power of almost, the power of suggestion. Of course something it is not always known but this is a good starting point.

A great example of the brief, beautiful moment is captured in Lucia Berlin’s masterpiece ‘My Jockey’

Just read it, and take a deep breath. Or listen to it here.

I hope to share a love of the short story on this blog, explore themes and threads and exchange stories or sections of stories with other authors and/or readers.

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“In a stairwell between the second and third flight I heard some local lads, shouting and laughing. They were always up there. Under the pink sky of a late summer evening. Or in the brutal heart of winter, jackets zipped to their chins, hoods pulled over skeletal heads. They could be rolling joints, or sharing a can of cheap lager, their scrawny bird-figures crowding the eyrie – the little patch of wasteland at the top of the stairs. A bitter wind whooshing through a gap in the shelter did not deter them…”

From “Judgment” by David O’Dwyer, 2018.

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August 12, 2013 · 3:09 pm