A SHORT, short story and you now I am not into short stories. Still, I liked it. Why? Because Thurber lets you escape with Mitty into his fantasy worl...moreA SHORT, short story and you now I am not into short stories. Still, I liked it. Why? Because Thurber lets you escape with Mitty into his fantasy world, and you understand why he flees there. This has to be short, or it will be longer than the story itself.(less)
Definitely worth reading, but do NOT listen to the audiobook narrated by the author. She is a good author, but not a good narrator. Dreary, let me jus...moreDefinitely worth reading, but do NOT listen to the audiobook narrated by the author. She is a good author, but not a good narrator. Dreary, let me just leave it at that......
The writing reflects that she is trained as a journalist. However, the book is rather unstructured and reads as a group of different stories. Story after story of different Muslim women's experiences in the Middle East in the early 90s. Even if it isn't totally up-to-date you have to understand the past to understand the present.
I liked how the author distinguishes between different sources for current Islamic beliefs - the Koran, the Hadith and cultural practices.
I was upset by the double standard so often evoked in the stories.
The author clearly attacks the misogyny central to many Islamic beliefs...... She is a converted Jew. I was a teeny bit uncomfortable sometimes worrying to what extent her statements were completely objective. She did usually balance different views against each other, but I could hear through her intonation her own personal view on a subject. (Bad narration!)
Very interesting, but not a book where you engage yourself in the lives of the people mentioned.(less)
The audiobook Fishing the Sloe-Black River is a book of 12 short stories, narrated by Clodagh Bowyer, Tim Smallwood, Paul Nugent, Fiana Toibin, Sean G...moreThe audiobook Fishing the Sloe-Black River is a book of 12 short stories, narrated by Clodagh Bowyer, Tim Smallwood, Paul Nugent, Fiana Toibin, Sean Gormley, John Keating and Ed Malone. The Irish patois was perfectly executed by all except for the one story narrated by Ed Malone. Only he failed to space the words and give an intonation that fitted the lines well! I noted how if a narrator emphasizes the wrong words the meaning of the sentence would be messed up! Paul Nugent and Fiana Toibin must be Irish! Fiana even sang some songs for us! The lilt and the off-key tone could not have been improved upon.
I would not recommend listening to one story after the other, as I did. They all became jumbled in my head. I couldn't keep any of them straight. Some I didn't understand. So many people and such miserable existences; I was truly saddened. Usually this author makes me smile but only one story did that for me, and this was the second to the last one entitled "A Word in Edgewise"(Fiana Toibin). You soon realize that this is one woman reminiscing, as she lovingly and delicately paints makeup, for the last time, on the dead woman lying before her. Her lips, her cheeks, her eyebrows had to be done up just right! What these two did together! Shared jokes. Swimsuits today were nothing more than dental floss! Maybe their suits were more substantial but they were "a wiggling too" back then! Re condoms: "It must be like washing your feet with socks on!" If you are anything like me you will smile. But this was the only story that had me smiling, and this is unusual for McCann. The stories were too depressing.
Many marvelous details that pepper his longer novels are repeated in these short stories. Repeated, they are less fun. Songdogs and fishing and marmalade cats and blue anoraks and even exact phrases from the novels are here.
So this book was just OK. This is my first two star rating for a McCann book. Read something else by McCann. This is not representative of what he can write. However, I am not going to return this book to Audible. Why? Because I did like that one story, the one mentioned above. It was that good; I will listen to it again. It is beautiful and funny and sad, all rolled together. (less)
"Everything In This Country Must" is quite simply too short.
The title story only lasts 23 minutes. I am listening to the audiobook performance. Yes,...more"Everything In This Country Must" is quite simply too short.
The title story only lasts 23 minutes. I am listening to the audiobook performance. Yes, it feels like a performance, not the reading of a story! The narration by Clodagh Bowyer, in her young feminine Irish patois, was fantastic. The book’s narrator is a fifteen year old. Her perception of the event is that of a young Catholic Irish girl. She saw the body of the male swimmer. That is what she would see. She saw the agony and frustration of her father. She saw both, and there she stands wondering how one reconciles the two! Politics and religion and culture all mirrored in one short episode. I end up frustrated because I want more! I have been given a beautiful snapshot!
The second story lasts only 26 minutes, narrated by Paul Nugent. This story shows the other side, a Presbyterian family living in Northern Ireland. The point of contention is here within the family. Secrets. Still, very, very Irish! I am less sure what McCann is trying to tell us, but the small details create a picture that you feel rather than see. The short remarks, which can scarcely be called dialog, capture the mood perfectly. Another snap-shot, but less satisfying because I don’t know what is being said.
Awfully glad that the next track is two hours and forty minutes long. Something to bite into and hold a while…. This one is narrated by Sean Gormley. Beautiful. That is the best adjective to describe this. McCann knows how to capture a person, that person’s cultural identity, age, family, circumstances and what makes that person who he is. He knows how to capture the wonderful in the sorrowful. He knows how to make you draw parallels between the book’s characters and your own loved ones. The main character is a Catholic, 13 years old and Irish. The setting is, I would guess, in the early 1980s. The themes are sexual awakening, family relationships, friendship and of course the religious/political strife that so characterizes Northern Ireland. You don’t have to be interested in the political theme to love this book. Any mother who has had a 13 year old son will relate to this book. It is believable, it is sweet, and it is hard. This too is a snap shot, of a few weeks in a thirteen-year-old's life. Do you remember swimming with your young adolescent son, splashing water, the cold air, the quiet lake, the pull on your arms as you propel yourself forward?
Took away one star only because the “glimpses” are too short and the middle short story confused me. It is amazing that I can give a book of short stories many stars! (less)