Saturday, 8 June 2013


Kevin Barry, IMPAC winner & editor of Town & Country (pic: Guardian)
The Faber anthology was published this week and with Kevin Barry's risen star (augmented by his IMPAC win) the reviews are tumbling in. They are a mixed bag, it would have to be said, with reviewers differing entirely on which stories work and don't, and how the book fares as a whole. 

When you have a story in an anthology like this, naturally you are interested to see if reviewers notice or care about your story. My story 'Joyride to Jupiter' got a bit of a thrashing from Valerie Riordan at BookMunch: 'Nuala Ní Chonchúir’s ‘Joyride To Jupiter’ covers the sadness and horror of a partner lost to dementia, and, though it’s decently written, it’s a fairly predictable story, up to and including the ending (no spoilers!); the hints about child abuse are a clever addition, adding ambiguity to the reader’s relationship with the narrator, but I’m not sure, still, that this elevates the story to the level I’d like to see in an anthology like this one.' Ouch.

But the Scotsman review, by Tom Adair, felt differently: 'Thankfully, other stories soar without much effort. “Joyride to Jupiter”, perfectly pitched, a tender love story by the gifted Nuala Ni Chonchuir, is the pre-eminent example, telling its tale of a couple’s cruel disintegration, held somehow together by selfless love, producing an ending that is excruciatingly moving.' Tom - I am tracking you down to hug you and shove a copy of my forthcoming Scotland-set novel into your paw :)

Giles Newington reviews the book in The Irish Times today and he finds it a 'sharp, lively and varied selection', while noting the absent writers and singling out, among others, newcomers Colin Barrett and Lisa McInerney for praise.It's an exciting business having a story in such a prominent anthology and, personally, I think it's a great one - I was gobsmacked by several stories, including Éilís Ní Dhuibhne's and Keith Ridgway's. And it's equally exciting (and nerve-wracking) reading the reviews. Bring 'em on!


Paulo Gonçalves said...

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Good luck with your blog!
Greetings from Algarve, Portugal
Paulo Gonçalves

I invite you to visit my blog

lane7 said...

Sounds worthy of an add to my to-be-read list Nuala, good on you. It is gorgeous and sunny here but am spending all my time locked indoors on home improvement atm, (still at least the paint dries quick in this weather) ...and counting the days until I can throw away the dead paintbrushes and curl up with a huge stack of books. This among them!

mel u said...

I have begun reading and posting own the twenty stories in the anthology. So far I have posted on the stories by Mary Costello and William Wall and liked them both a great deal. I am looking forward to reading your story.

Valerie O'Riordan said...

Sorry, Nuala! You know I'm otherwise an admirer, though. ;-)


Thanks for the comments, Paulo, Lane, Mel and Valerie.
I think it's a great anthology - a breath of fresh air in anthology land!