Customer Review

5.0 out of 5 stars Christmas in July?, 31 Oct 2012
This review is from: Sacred Santa (Kindle Edition)
Tony Bailie, whose longer fiction I've enjoyed for its combination of archetypes and present-day Irish settings in "The Lost Chord," "Ecopunks," and the novella "A Verse for Murder," here offers a more direct, if appropriately indirect parable in a short story set in his native North. The title refers to a boy's understanding of a certain holy picture on his grandmother's wall, as interpreted by his father. The reasons why the boy, Ivan, is taught by his father, Danny, not to call his own uncle by his proper name Damien but that of David may all seem common enough. But Bailie knows the meaning of signifiers, on the wall, tattooed on an arm, hung in a window, or registered as his wife, Sandra, and his neighbor, Norman.

If you can prise out the message within this brief tale, you will appreciate the subtlety with which it's delivered. The setting in July plays off the Christmas icon effectively, if again in an understated tone. Bailie keeps the narrative on track, and lets one see for one's self the drama, rather than telling us. Set in rural Northern Ireland and then Belfast during the summer of 1972, the scenes and the dialogue say it all.
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5.0 out of 5 stars (1 customer review)
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