The China Factory
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The China Factory

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  65 ratings  ·  17 reviews
An elderly schoolteacher recalls the single act of youthful passion that changed her life forever; a young gardener has an unsettling encounter with a suburban housewife; a wife who miscalculated the guarantees of marriage embarks upon an online affair. And in the title story a teenage girl strikes up an unlikely friendship with a lonely bachelor.

Love, loss, betrayal. Grie...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published May 3rd 2012 by The Stinging Fly Press (first published 2012)
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Annemarie Neary
In her debut collection, Mary Costello has produced something more significant than most writers do in an entire career. Each superbly crafted story carries a novel’s worth of characterisation, insight and empathy. If you still consider the short story incapable of satisfying you, try these ones! In some respects, Costello is on well-trodden ground (for the Irish short story, at least) - emotional isolation, failure of communication, the death of hope. But this is a world where traditional Irela...more
Feb 08, 2013 Laura rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Laura by: Bettie
From BBC Radio 4 Extra - Debut
Niamh Cusack reads this sharply observed story about a marriage in crisis from Mary Costello's acclaimed debut collection
another great irish short story writer, apparently.

correct, another great Irish short storywriter. I am being a little generous with the stars here, as one or two stories may be a little under 5, but I did engage fully with this book, just my thing. Often about the usual - unwanted pregnancy, retirement, infidelity, an email romance that is 'spoiled' by becoming 'real life', a shy man who steps forward in a difficult situation causing re-appraisal - it's the mature, steady way the stories are h...more
Lovely language in these lyrical stories describing love, hurt, regret, and more--the stuff of life. Beautifully mature collection of stories.
The China Factory is a collection of twelve short stories, the first collection by Irish author, Mary Costello. Costello’s superbly crafted stories are about a range of ordinary people: a retiring teacher, a young woman just finished school, an elderly man facing the end of his life, a young landscape gardener, a ten-year-old girl, a young mother, a middle-aged schools inspector, a bitter bachelor, an insomniac husband, a suspicious wife. Her stories involve every day events, but also life-chang...more
Katie Cruel
I debated between three and four stars. I have issues with the narrative structure of her stories-- they all follow the same jumpy flashback, flash forward, present, etc, again and again pattern, which I think is fine if used sparingly, but becomes monotonous in a cycle of stories. I walked away, also, with the impression Costello only knows how to write one sort of story: the characters in each story seem comparable, as do their anxieties about life and their situations. The only thing I could...more
John Bartlett
I'm a great fan of short stories and know how hard they can be to get just right.
This is a wonderful collection, people dancing about each other, trying and often failing to relate.
Costello deals gently with her characters and although not much happens in stories here, there is a strong undercurrent of emotion, expressed or withheld.
The collection is worth reading if only for the final story in the collection - 'The Sewing Room', a compassionate story about an older retiring teacher looking bcak...more
Gisela Sophia
Beautifully observed and written but quite melancholy so don't read it if you are looking for something cheery. :)
I don't normally read short stories but I heard the author interviewed on ABC RN and her reading of a section of one of these stories was so beautiful I'm giving it a go !
Costello tackles big themes—sickness, death, betrayal, and infidelity—with an economy of words. I still find myself coming back to certain images: a blood stain on the back of a mother’s nightdress; a lame pigeon; a wife washing potatoes in her kitchen after a rendezvous with a lover. I'm also fascinated by the recurring paradox of intimate strangers and estranged lovers.
Lovely book of short stories, subtle emotions playing throughout all the characters. Warm and intimate and melancholic might be the best description for this collection by an Irish writer.
Filled with this sense of inescapable melancholy that is expressed beautifully - the way a funeral air can be heartbreaking and moving at the same time.
O'Fallon Public Library
"Wonderful collection of short stories & on the long-list for Guardian book of the Year!" Recommended by Westside Library (Galway City, Ireland).
Amazing short stories and characters that I'll never forget.
Ken Mannion
May 08, 2013 Ken Mannion marked it as to-read
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Anne Coll
Beautiful writing although all stories had so much sadness.
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Mary Costello lives in Dublin. Her collection of short stories, The China Factory, was nominated for the Guardian First Book Award. Academy Street is her first novel.
More about Mary Costello...
Academy Street Irresistible Enemy: Destiny Romance Still Full of SAP: Reflections on Growing Older Facing the Modern: The Portrait in Vienna 1900

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