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Hard to Say

4.44 of 5 stars 4.44  ·  rating details  ·  41 ratings  ·  16 reviews
We are especially proud of our third book, Ethel Rohan’s gorgeous, personal, at times painful but always resonant, Hard to Say, and this is a book you’re going to want to get your hands on before it sells out. Hard to Say is on sale now, in production, and ships toward the end of the month. Don’t just take our word though, read further to see what Robin Black, Amelia Gray, ...more
First, 54 pages
Published May 2011 by PANK
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These stories are fairly unrelenting and bleak, without even the occasional moments of near-humor and fantastical disruption in Rohan's first collection Cut Through The Bone. At first, that relentlessness and the repetition of suffering and abuse in a tight domestic sphere was a struggle and made me want to look away, so to speak, because they felt "familiar" in the Irish context (ie, struggling up through misery to consciousness, Angela's Ashes style). But as I kept reading, I discovered the re ...more
A devastating read. I could personally relate to so much of this , the Catholic upbringing, the warring, alcoholic parents, the dynamics and secrets of siblings, the abuse. Ethel takes such a hard and honest look at all of this that it makes for heart in the throat reading. My favorite story of this collection was "Split". That story has one of the most achingly beautiful endings I have ever read.
xTx xTx
Hard to say but Ethel Rohan does in tremendous words that hold up a mirror to the struggles of a family, a little girl, a young woman, a mother, a life. The stories in this collection read like crossing a river by way of rocks; unsteady, precarious, exhilarating and scary. But Ethel takes our hand and guides us, showing us a fragile beauty just under the surface.
This is a lovely, difficult, heartbreaking but ultimately beautiful book about mothers, daughters, borders and boundaries. You won't regret reading it.
I do believe that Hard to Say, a painfully beautiful linked collection of stories by Ethel Rohan, will leave you as speechless as it did me. The book begins with a young woman whose own desire not to speak her family’s many secrets chokes her. It is not until she envisions herself speaking, through a dream of bloodletting, that her stories are set free.

Long kept hidden away in the narrator’s secret spaces, the stories burst onto the page with confessions of wrong doing–both that which is done to
I began reading Ethel Rohan’s Hard to Say (PANK 2011), a slim volume of very short fiction, with very little exposure to her previous work. I’m not sure what I was expecting from those fifteen little stories, but it’s fair to say that I was unprepared for just how deeply I would be affected by them. Spread over fifty-three pages, they document a tale of life in an Irish Catholic family, and although each story is an individual, they have been deliberately ordered so as to run in chronological or ...more
Nathaniel Tower
To quote Ethel Rohan's own work, reading these stories is like being pulled "through a black hole." The words are haunting and beautiful and take the reader well past the familiar into places even more haunting and beautiful. Never have birth, life, or death been so terrifically or tragically rendered on paper. Although it might be hard for the narrator to speak, the words seem to flow out with brilliant ease. These stories aren't hard to read, but they sure grab and choke the reader, leaving hi ...more
In the span of just 53 pages, this book manages to cover a lot of ground. In 15 vignettes, the reader journeys through what is a coming-of-age tale, a look at the mother-daughter relationship, an exploration of voice and voicelessness, a glimpse into Ireland, a tale of mental illness... and more.

I had received this book in June as part of a giveaway, but, due to how life sometimes goes, I hadn't had a chance to read it until today. This is an excellent book, and I hope to read more by the author
Kenny Mooney
I love this book. Slim but the stories feel vast, deep, personal, touching, frightening. I related to so much of what was in this, it caught me totally off guard. Strong, engaging prose that draws you right into the heart of these tales of a mother/daughter relationship, the tragedy of family violence, alcoholism and the need to escape. Absolutely first class.
I won this book in Goodreads First Reads, it's the second book of short stories by Ethel Rohan I've had the pleasure of winning and reading. She has yet to disappoint! I can't wait to read more of her stories, they're usually very quick to read but have a lot of power behind them! I highly recommend this book.
Marcia Forecki
Feb 22, 2012 Marcia Forecki rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Marcia by: Goodreads
I sampled this book of ruthlessly honest and deeply beautiful poems. I can not wait to read more. Discoverying Ms. Rohan has been a treat for me as a reader and as a writer. I expect to become an enthusiastic fan.
i won this book from one of the goodreads giveaways and it is excellant. it was a quick read but i enjoyed all the stories. i will definitely read it again and i will recommend it to my friends.
This chapbook punched me in the heart about twice for every page of it I read.
Ethel Rohan will break your heart and you will fucking love it.
received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads
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ETHEL ROHAN was born and raised in Dublin and now lives in San Francisco. She is the author of two story collections, Goodnight Nobody and Cut Through the Bone, the former a finalist in the 2014 Indie Book Awards and the latter longlisted for The Story Prize. Winner of Ireland's 2013 Bryan MacMahon Short Story Award, her work has or will appear in The New York Times, PEN America, World Literature ...more
More about Ethel Rohan...
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