The Love Object: Selected Stories of Edna O'Brien
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Collected here together for the first time in one beauitful volume, are the stories of an expert practitioner of the shorter form. Spanning five decades of writing, The Love Object takes the most memorable and successful stories from collections like A Scandalous Woman and Saints and Sinners; stories that have bewitched generation after generation.
Referred to in the New York Review of Books by Harold Bloom as 'the short story master', Edna O'Brien's stories are a cumulative portrait of a nation, seen from within and without. Here you will find stories about families, feuds, love and land; enchantment, disenchantment, and throughout, the manifold bonds of love. Here are stories about the tension between country and city life, the instinct towards escape and nostaglia for home; and always the shimmering, potent prose.
self-defence, the dog mauling him, and the miracle that he was not eaten to death. He charts the three days of agony before he was brought to the hospital, the arm being set, being in a sling for two months, and the little electric saw that the county surgeon used to remove the plaster. ‘My God, what I had to suffer!’ he says. The nun has already left, whispering some excuse. ‘Poor Dad,’ his daughter says. She is determined to be nice, admitting how wretched his life is, always has been. ‘You
summer, daylight and dark? What is Bridget trying to hide?’ What went on there at night, after she strolled home, carrying a few tasties that the owner of the shop had given her, such as slices of bacon or tins of salmon? It was rumoured that she changed from her dark shop overall into brighter clothes. A child had seen her carrying in a scuttle of coal. So there was a fire in the parlour, people were heard to say. * Parties began to take place, and many a night a strange car or two, or even
this she did by slapping both cheeks vehemently. As a dire punishment she took cups of Glauber’s salts three times a day, choosing to drink it when it was lukewarm and at its most nauseating. She would be told by her father to get out, to stop hatching, to get out from under her mother’s apron strings, and he would send her for a spin on the woeful brakeless bicycle. She would go to the chapel, finding it empty of all but herself and the lady sacristan, who spent her life in there polishing and
would have been obliged to tolerate her company. Going along the street – it was October and very windy – I felt that he was angry with me for having drawn us out into the cold where we could not embrace. My heels were very high and I was ashamed of the hollow sound they made. In a way I felt we were enemies. He looked in the windows of restaurants to see if any acquaintances of his were there. Two restaurants he decided against, for reasons best known to himself. One looked to be very
lace cloths and on each table a vase of wild flowers. She bent down and smelt some pansies. A pure sweet silken smell, with the texture of childhood. She felt grateful. Her husband was paying for all this and what a pity that like her he was not now going down more steps, past a satin screen, to a table laid for two by an open window, to the accompaniment of running water. She had a half bottle of champagne, duck pâté and a flat white grilled fish on a bed of thin strips of boiled leek. The