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The Long Gaze Back: An Anthology of Irish Women Writers

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  187 ratings  ·  34 reviews
The Long Gaze Back, edited by Sinéad Gleeson, is an exhilarating anthology of thirty short stories by some of the most gifted women writers this island has ever produced.

Niamh Boyce, Elizabeth Bowen, Maeve Brennan, Mary Costello, June Caldwell, Lucy Caldwell, Evelyn Conlon, Anne Devlin, Maria Edgeworth, Anne Enright, Christine Dwyer Hickey, Norah Hoult, Mary Lavin, Eimear
Hardcover, 360 pages
Published September 10th 2015 by New Island Books
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Tami Coleman At first I thought it was because the story ends in the future. But that can't be since the author, Ife, signs off in 2015. I guess we'll just have to…moreAt first I thought it was because the story ends in the future. But that can't be since the author, Ife, signs off in 2015. I guess we'll just have to chalk it up to magical realism.(less)
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3.98  · 
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 ·  187 ratings  ·  34 reviews

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Shirley Revill
Aug 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A collection of short stories from talented women Irish writers who's collective work spans four centuries.
I hadn't listened to any of the stories before and it was fascinating listening to the vast array of talent that was portrayed.
Each and every story leaves a lasting impression and the stories cover many different topics.
I listened to the audiobook version of this book and the narration was absolutely wonderful.
Fully deserves five stars as I enjoyed this audiobook immensely.
Jun 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
This anthology came about because of the general neglect of women writers in Ireland and the failure to represent women's voices in such anthologies. Gleeson undertook the task to represent Irish women writers going back two centuries. The classic stories selected come from writers known for their work in the short story genre, as well as novels. The contemporary stories were both selected from collections and stories already published by living writers as well as written for this volume.

Some re
Fiona O'dea
Apr 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good anthology.. particularly liked Eimear Ryan, Lisa McInerny, Eimear McBride, Molly McCloskey, Mary Costello, Susan Stairs, Mary Lavin and Somerville & Ross.
Emma Flanagan
Jan 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very interesting anthology and conveniently it’s the Dublin One City One Book this year.
Apr 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
A revealation to me of the variety of Irish writing which encapsulates the full range of emotions from humour to heartbreak. A real discovery for me as this collection introduced to many talented Irish women writers.
Jackie Law
Oct 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Long Gaze Back is an anthology of short stories written by Irish women whose collective work spans four centuries. They are presented in chronological order, thereby offering the reader the chance to observe how much, and how little, has changed in women’s lives.

The editor, Sinead Gleeson, comments in her introduction that, with a few notable exceptions, it is only in the past few decades that women writers, particularly Irish women writers, have been selected for inclusion in anthologies. I
Paula Dennan
Oct 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Long Gaze Back is an anthology of 30 short stories by Irish women writers. They’re presented in chronological order, which gives an insight into the issues and idea of the times. This is a collection which appeals to short-story lovers and those coming to short-stories for the first time. There is something for everyone.

Stand out stories – The Demon Lover by Elizabeth Bowen, The Eldest Child by Maeve Brennan, Three Stories About Love by Anne Enright, The Crossing by Lia Mills, Long Distance
Disha Bose O'Shea
Apr 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
A refreshing selection of short stories by Irish female writers.

A gem of an anthology, which I could tell the editor, Sinead Gleeson, laboured over. Not only is this a collection of stories by an all-female cast but it is a clever reflection on the evolution of the short story itself.

I can’t be certain, but as far as I could tell, the stories were all arranged by sequence of the ages of their authors. So, you begin by reading a short story written by an Irish female author, which is some three d
Claire O'Brien
3.5 stars.

The problem with reviewing a collection of short stories by different authors is the quality can vary hugely. I really enjoyed some of these stories, but others less so. Some did not feel like a complete short story. Nice idea though to have a collection of all female Irish writers.
Julieann Wielga
Jul 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Purple Jar - Maria Edgeworth 2/5
Frank's Resolve - Charlotte Riddell 2.5/5
Poisson d'Avril - Somerville and Ross 1/5
A Bus from Tivoli -Kate O'Brien 3.5/5
When Miss Coles Made the Tea - Norah Hoult 3/5
The Demon Lover - Elizabeth Bowen 4/5
In the Middle of the Fields -Mary Lavin 4/5
The Eldest Child - Maeve Brennan 3/5
Winter Journey (The Apparitions) - Anne Devlin 3.5/5
The Meaning of Missing - Evelyn Conlon 4/5
The Coast of Wales - Éilís Ní Dhuibhne 3/5
The Crossing - Lia Mills 4.5/5
The Cat and the M
Belinda Carvalho
Enjoyable, well-selected anthology by a wide selection of female writers manages to reflect the various complexities of life as an Irish woman. I could not find fault with it and as collections go I found it quite page turning. Tragic themes such as widowhood, still birth, infidelity and divorce are treated sensitively in subtle stories with just the right amount of Irish wit and humour to get you through the collection. A few stories were a little avant garden for my tastes but remained excelle ...more
Ally Marshall
Apr 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
I loved this book. I read it in under a week - and for someone who doesn't read much, that's very quick!

The stories focus a lot around death/grieving, unhappy lives and coping techniques. It shows a number of characters dealing with loss or with the fact that their life is different than they had hoped. There are also a couple of fantasy-type stories, and a few comedic ones. I found it easy to pick up the book at lunch or in the evenings and pop a story in. Each were interesting and left a last
Adrienne Power
Apr 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Wonderful anthology. Especially enjoyed the terrific Mary Lavin Story. Oh of course Somerville and Ross are always like a blast of bright sunshine. The Coast of Wales by Eillis Ni Dhuibhne was my fav though....this was written the best...a simple story which transports you to the place instantly and says what it has to say hidden is this what they mean that what they mean and you are left wondering.
Mary Crawford
Jan 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
I initially read the authors I liked in this short story collection and then tailed off reading any more. I finally finished the others months after starting which probably shows that short stories are not my books of choice. However I did come across a few new authors and really liked the fact that this book will be an introduction for many to the fine female writers we have and have had in Ireland. Overall a treat to read.
Finn Hynes
Aug 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Finally finished this!
Was sent it by a very close friend shortly after I had my second child on the other side of the world.

It's a rich collection of beautiful storytelling. Short stories are a great way for a tired new mum to get back into reading. This is full of different tales and styles all from Irish authors, but relatable to the global female narrative.
Mary Lou
May 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Sinead Gleeson’s collection of short stories by Irish women writers contains some precious and often unexpected jewels. A book for dipping in and out of, rather than reading from start to finish as I tried to do - too much good stuff for one go.
Nov 10, 2015 rated it liked it
Book of short stories by Irish writers, some of whom I've never heard of but would like to read in the future. I realise I'm not too keen on short stories....a bit like having one sweet only from the box...nice but you want more.
Anthologies are, I think, almost always difficult to rate/review. I loved some of the writing in this and was meh about other parts of it. I liked that there was such a range of writing - some light-hearted, some very much not, some quite modern, some from a century ago.
Oct 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: v, potatoes
Veronica Brogan
Oct 24, 2018 rated it liked it
I was excited to read this book as it contains 30 short stories written by female authors born or based in Ireland. The stories are published chronologically from oldest to youngest and there are 218 years between the oldest and youngest writers (as obviously some of the writers are dead). I was disappointed there were not so many "older" stories as I was eager to see the difference in language etc. There were only 6 authors in the book born pre 1900. One of my favourite descriptions was in the ...more
Dec 25, 2018 rated it liked it

This picked up towards the end for me, with the first few stories (oldest) not being my taste. A lot of themes of motherhood, which I wasn't expecting. Some authors I came across that I'd love to read more of from this anthology:
Maeve Brennan
Elizabeth Bowen
Mary Costello
Susan Stairs
Niamh Boyce
Siobhan Mannion
Lucy Caldwell
Jan 08, 2019 rated it liked it
I loved a third of the stories in this collection and plan on reading more from those authors but overall this was a very bumpy ride. Most of the short stories did not grab my attention and so I read one and put the book down to pick up at a later date, I only managed to finish it because I’m stubborn and I knew there were some precious gems in it. Overall, 3.5 stars would be fair.
May 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
Kate Stead
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I so enjoyed this book.
What a fabulous collection.
I've never been a short story person but this may have changed my mind
Tara Mickela
May 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
More, more, more!!!!!!!!
Mar 03, 2016 rated it liked it
A lovely gift for becoming a citizen, as I have spent formattable years in the US, England and Ireland. I couldn't of asked for a lovelier gift. However, the idea is more brilliant than the execution. The last three stories were by far the strongest. But, a lot of the stories in the middle, while good, felt more like a chapter in a book, instead of a comprehensive short story. I got the feeling that this is perhaps not some/most of the writer's best work, but a little taster, with a handful of o ...more
Jan 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
I got this book for Christmas and have just finished reading it. I found it to be an ambitious and enlightening anthology overall. I was surprised by how limpid the language was in the earlier stories. Having expected them to be dull and difficult they were, on the contrary, a delight.Maria Edgeworth & Somerville & Ross in particular.I'm going to try and find more works by Norah Hoult. Mary Lavin too was a revelation to me. I'd somehow got it into my head that she was a mate and shpuds s ...more
Dec 23, 2015 rated it liked it
It was an interesting read. I enjoyed some stories more than others, which is to be expected. I found that I'm a creature of habit & like a beginning middle & end in my stories, whether they are long or short. It got good reviews & that made me curious. But I like to get lost when I read & short stories don't do it for me. They are snapshots. Moments in time.
I will look up some of the authors though for their longer works. Writers from further back caught my attention. They wrote
Lisa Martinez
May 08, 2016 rated it liked it
I picked through this book of short stories over a period of weeks and felt less eager to return to it as the days went by. A good number of the stories left me feeling that there was more to be told and that the short story failed to be that; a short story. Perhaps they were part of a larger piece of work or wanted to be. Nevertheless, I often wondered why a piece had been written. What audience did it really serve? My favourite story was 'Shut Your Mouth, Hélène'. The story, like the title, is ...more
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