First review of The Proverb Zoo; or, I could get used to this

The Proverb Zoo has received its first review at Headstuff, and I would lie if I said I wasn’t delighted with it and myself.

The collection is described as “a raucous, funny and constantly surprising set of tales populated with socialist dogs, obsessive children, miraculously animated statuettes of the Virgin Mary, elderly piano tuners and shipwrecked loners”, and my writing as bringing “a Nabokovian love of a second tongue and a perspective that feels fresh and distinct from Irish, Anglo or American voices”.

This is a very kind and thoughtful review, which ends by saying that “very little is playing it safe in this collection”. Well, safe to say that I’m a very happy writer right now.

 

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BOOOOOK OUT!

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.

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(Me with a look I call “confused happiness”)

THE PROVERB ZOO: book launches in Cork and Dublin

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)

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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).

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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.

 

 

A Slow, Unstoppable Devouring of Everything

I have a story up at Necessary Fiction called “A Slow, Unstoppable Devouring of Everything“, and I’m pretty proud of it.

Necessary Fiction is one of the best online literary magazines, and one that’s been around for quite a while too. Apart from fiction, they have book reviews and a very interesting Research Notes section in which authors talk about the work behind their book. Founding editor Steve Himmer‘s own writing is worth seeking out, and you should follow him on Twitter, if you’re into that kind of thing, for great bookish thoughts and recommendations.

 

 

A fanciful tribute to Horacio Quiroga in Nightscript

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The third volume of the annual anthology Nightscript came out recently, and it includes a dark tale of mine titled “Homeward bound now, Paulino”

The story was inspired by, and is a sequel of sorts to,¬† “Adrift” (which you can read here – a short read, about a thousand words, I think), probably the best known short story by Urugayan writer Horacio Quiroga. Quite loosely, I should say. And maybe it is a little presumptuous to write a sequel that runs two or three times longer than the original story by a classic writer, but hey.

I first came across Quiroga when I studied his stories in college, then got reacquainted with his work during a trip through South America. I visited his home in northern Argentina, getting drenched to the bone walking there on a red clay-like dirt road to visit the place not many tourists seemed to patronise.

His work is worth checking out, and his life, full of dark, messed-up episodes, might yet prompt me to write more around him. And of course, Nightscript is more than worth checking out, with over twenty dark tales by great writers working that seam of weird ore.

[And for those of you who write in that same tunnel, Nightscript editor C.M. Muller will be opening to submissions for the next volume in January 2018]

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Strange California: a gold rush story. Kinda.

I have a story in this beautifully illustrated anthology about California and its weird corners, histories and myths, edited by ¬†Jaym Gates and J. Daniel Batt. There’s plenty of great names next to mine on the TOC, and while I can’t comment on all the stories (I haven’t received my copy yet, and am looking forward to getting into it), mine features gold-rush era ghost, has earthquakes, a clonal colony of aspen, a fleet of ships rotting in the Yerba Buena harbour, and hailstorms.

You can get a copy straight from the publisher here, or at the Book Depository here, with free shipping worldwide. (I would usually prefer to give you a link to Wordery, for a website that sells books with free worldwide shipping which ISN’T owned by Amazon, but they don’t seem to have the book at the moment.)

 

Flash Fiction in Tin House: Sea Change

Opinions on Sundarbans (disambiguation)

 

I have a new short short story, “Sea Change” up at Tin House, for their Flash Fridays series. It’s a bit of a climate change story, you could say.

It’s the second time these good folks have let a story of mine in. Last time was three years ago, nearly to the day, when they published “The Brotherhood of Wednesday Afternoons“. You could, like, read that too. Yes?