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Frank O'Connor Omnibus Hardcover – 26 Jun 2009
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For the first time, the selected works of Frank O'Connor, the writer Yeats dubbed 'Ireland's Chekhov', in a single volume, edited by novelist Julian Barnes.
About the Author
Frank O'Connor was the pseudonym of Michael O'Donovan who was born at Cork in 1903. Largely self-educated, he began to prepare a collected edition of his works at the age of twelve and later worked as a librarian, translator and journalist. When quite young he learned to speak Irish and saturated himself in Gaelic poetry, music and legend. When he was interned by the Free State Government he took the opportunity to learn several languages, but it was in Irish that he wrote a prize-winning study of Turgenev on his relase. 'A.E.' began to publish his poems, stories and translations in the Irish Statesman.
Meanwhile a local clergyman remarked of him, when he produced plays by Ibsen and Chekhov in Cork, that: 'Mike the moke would go down to posterity at the head of the pagan Dublin muses.' Frank O'Connor lived in Dublin and had an American wife, two sons and two daughters. He published Guests of the Nation, his first book, in 1931, and then followed over thirty volumes, largely of short stories, in addition to plays. Frank O'Connor died in 1966.
Julian Barnes's novels include Flaubert's Parrot, A History of the World in Ten-and-a-half Chapters and Arthur and George. He has also published collections of short stories and essays and most recently, a memoir, Nothing to be Frightened of.
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Top customer reviews
Moving on, I found the remainder of the book very much less rewarding. Some stories put me in mind of "Some Reminiscences Of An Irish RM" - they portray Irish people as lovable simpletons. For example, a man goes to town to fetch a doctor for his wife who has gone into labour. He meets a few friends, has a few drinks, and returns with some fish (it's a Friday). Others I think rely on the ability to shock the reader by a frankness about sexual behaviour that no longer seems shocking when read today.
The editing by Julian Barnes is first class: short introductions to each section, sensitive editing of autobiographical writings to illustrate the short stories.