In the introduction to this fantastic collection of short stories from Ireland, William Trevor states that "The Modern short story may be defined as the distillation of an essence. It may be laid down that it has to have a point, that it must be going somewhere, that it dare not be vague." He then goes on to say that art has its own way of defying both definitions and rules and that neither offer much help when examining the short stories of his homeland. Born in Mitchels-town, County Cork in 1928 he has spent a lifetime imbibing the spirit of Irish storytelling, whether told as a means of communication or as entertainment, placing him in the ideal role of editor of this anthology. The Oxford Book of Irish short Stories manages to encompass within its pages tales that would have been told at the hearthside, through to writers as varied as Oliver Goldsmith, Maria Edgeworth, James Joyce, Liam O'Flaherty, Bernard Mac Laverty and Desmond Hogan.
As it says on the flyleaf, "The roots of the modern short story in Ireland are firmly embedded in the soil of the past, and in this wonderful anthology echoes and influences pervade individual stories to enrich our understanding of a unique literary tradition."
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