Folks, it’s official, my short story collection The Proverb Zoo is out in the world. Free. Well, you know, as in released. Unchained. You actually have to pay for it. You can do that here, from the good people of The Penny Dreadful. And you should, too.
There are 15 stories in it, a world war, an IKEA, a cut-off leg, dogs and cats in several forms, a whale, at least one miracle, three planes and a donkey, a shipwreck, some cuts and bruises… oh, and a few people too.
I was delighted to launch it last week in Cork’s Waterstone’s and Dublin’s Books Upstairs, and I look forward to the next time I get to share it with readers in person.
(Me with a look I call “confused happiness”)
Good citizens of Ireland! I’m delighted to announce that my short story collection The Proverb Zoo will be launched in just over a week, with the great folks of The Penny Dreadful Press.
There will be one in Cork on Tuesday 8th May, at 6.30 in Waterstone’s. (See here for the Facebook event page)
Aaand also one in Dublin, or “the big smokey apple of lights”, as no one ever called it. It will be in the magnificent Books Upstairs, on Thursday 10th May at 6.30. (See here for Facebook event page).
If you can come to either (or both!), it’d be great to see you there. I’m both super excited and pooping myself about it, so if not for the stories come for the bemused Armel.
There was a time when I thought a great deal about the axolotls. I went to see them in the aquarium at the Jardin des Plantes and stayed for hours watching them, observing their immobility, their faint movements. Now I am an axolotl.
– Axolotl, by Julio Cortázar (from Las Armas Secretas / The Secret Weapons)
Cortázar’s stories are just the stuff you need if you want your brain flipped sideways. The story “Axolotl” (you can read it here) is from the 1956 Spanish-language collection called Final del Juego. I read it in French in a book called Les Armes Secrètes, which collects 11 stories instead of the 5 in the original Las Armas Secretas. In English, it seems to be included in the collection Blow-Up and Other Stories, which gather yet a different selection. Jesus, foreign publishers, why mess with a good thing? Go figure. Anyway, pick up any of Cortázar’s books of stories, and teach your cortex the old back-flip.
I have a piece up at Threshold (a great resource for short story writers / lovers, by the way).
It’s a cross-reading of Kevin Barry’s ‘A Cruelty’ and Guy de Maupassant’s ‘Le Crime au Père Boniface’, two short stories that have stayed with me long after I read them, and that have plenty in common. Both feature men whose innocence make them ill-adapted to the world around them, and who’ll fall prey to their fellow men’s cruelty.
There’s some personal (hopefully) relevant anecdotes peppering the piece as well, so this really is a hybrid bit of writing. Hope you like it.
(from a ten-year-old notebook I came across again recently)
This article by Chris Power in the Guardian looks at the so-called “renaissance of the short story” that article after article (often in the Guardian itself, ironically I would say if irony wasn’t such a quaint concept):
In 2017, almost 50% more short story collections were sold than in the previous year. It was the best year for short stories since 2010. Booksellers are reporting a surge in popularity for the form, commentators note publishers are buying more collections and issuing them with greater care and enthusiasm; in December the newcomer Kristen Roupenian cut five- and seven-figure deals in the UK and US after her New Yorker story “Cat Person” went viral.
Alright, sounds great, but Power takes a closer look:
if we aren’t living through a renaissance of the short story, how to explain those booming sales figures? Let’s break them down. Collections by Tom Hanks, one of the world’s biggest film stars, and Jojo Moyes, one of its bestselling authors, represent 22% of that total: £1.3m in sales.
Have a good day.
I am very truly delighted to say that my short story collection The Proverb Zoo will be published this May in Ireland by The Penny Dreadful Press. There even was an official announcement and everything, so it’s real.
The book collects fifteen short stories, a good number of which have been published in magazines (in I think something like five different countries!) over the last few year. Those stories vary in length (three of them must be a couple of pages long, while others are definitely on the chunky side) and styles. There are minute miracles, shipwrecks, gameshows, IKEAs, kite-flying, severed legs… now, now*. Enough. I just hope it’s a Zoo you’ll want to visit. Spend time with those beasts.
Exact date of publication is yet to be announced, and for those of you in Ireland, there WILL be a launch, and you’re all invited.
*This is my sales pitch. I am new at this.