This is a collection of 13 somewhat dark and probing short stories, mostly taking place in Ireland. They are tales about people who are struggling with mental illness, addictions, and survival.
One of my favorites was "Beer Trip to Llandudno" that chronicled a kind of beer train crawl that seven members of an ale club made. Parts of it are very funny if you enjoy dry humor, especially when they develop a system for rating the beer from 1 to 10, and all the discussions and choices involved. It was nice to refreshing to read about the camaraderie of a group of men with a common hobby, and see glimpses of some dark pasts.
"Earnestine and Kit" was a real shocker, about two sweet old ladies on a road trip. The last line summarized the frightening story perfectly.
"A Cruelty" showed the meanness in society, where the weak and defenseless can become targets of bullying. Donie spent his days riding the train around the towns and countryside around his home. He's rather obsessive compulsive, and counts his steps, the stairs, and times the trains. The highlight of the days are when he has an opportunity to save baby ducks at the park. Such simple wants.
I wanted to read straight through these sometimes mundane, and often strange short stories. Instead I read a couple at a time and savored them.