The Librarian’s Cellar: ROOM LITTLE DARKER by June Caldwell

Much praise has already been heaped upon this collection of short stories, and rightly so. Caldwell’s writing exposes a brutally truthful voice, and perhaps, is responding to the fundamental underbelly of human nature – the murky and the painful – stuff that readers can relate to, however uncomfortably the narratives punch out from the pages. You may laugh, gasp, cringe or cry, each story with the capacity to leave you a little battered and breathless, but that won’t stop you turning the pages for the next assault on your senses!

ROOM LITTLE DARKER is published by New Island

 

Caroline E Farrell is the writer and producer of films, In Ribbons and Adam, and is the author of the novel, LADY BETH.

Lady Beth: Free until Tuesday!

Lady Beth, the ebook, is FREE to read until Tuesday. And sure why not!

Check it out HERE

And all the good vibes HERE

 

Many, many thanks for your support.

Lady Beth: The Perfect Antithesis to Valentine’s Day!

Excited to announce the ebook release of my novel, LADY BETH.

(Paperback release date to be confirmed soon!)

lady-beth-banner

Beth has been keeping secrets from her beloved son, refusing to tell him who his father is. When an unforeseen tragedy takes him from her, she is compelled to face the demons she has been running from all these years. She has come full circle, and with nothing left now but her memories and her knowing, the need for revenge scratches inside her veins.

Available from Amazon Kindle and Kindle Unlimited

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

First off, as this story originally came to me as an idea for a screenplay, I would like to thank the original members of The Kildare Screenwriters Group for the initial sparks of encouragement to keep going with it. Also from the film world, deepest appreciation to Michael Kinirons, Dermot Tynan, and Ozzy and Gabriel Villazon. To the late Gill Dennis – my eternal gratitude for the confidence instilled in me through his kindness and support. I would like to thank The Attic Studio Actors for the public script reading that almost scared me to death, but ultimately was hugely helpful and inspiring: Geraldine McAlinden, Joe McKinney, Sinead Monaghan, Michael Bates, Blayne Kelly, Laura Way and Melissa Nolan – your collective feedback was invaluable, then and now. To The Writers Guild of Ireland and the amazing group of writer friends I found there: for the readings, the feedback and the laughter! BIG THANKS! To my wonderful soul friend, Julie Luttrell. To my editor, Averill Buchanan, for putting some manners on my scribblings. To the amazing Lindsay J. Sedgwick for her support through the blood, sweat and tears proceedings, and to the lovely Celine Broughal for the constant encouragement. Special thanks to Mike Murray ( www.13thdoor.net ) for the beautiful cover design, and to actress and producer, Sinead O’Riordan ( www.sineadoriordan.com ) and photographer, Anita Kulon  ( www.facebook.com/Anita-Kulon-Photography ) for permission to use the stunning image. To my readers: what good is a storyteller without you? And it goes without saying: to the most patient man on the planet, my better half, Errol, as always.

The Librarian’s Cellar: spill simmer falter wither

Mistakenly assuming that it would be heavy-going, I was saving Sara Baume’s debut for a time when I felt I could give it the attention that such a thoughtful book deserves. However, having found that time, it turned out to be the fastest read I’ve enjoyed in a while. Sara’s visceral prose, alive and relentless, hooked me in through this dark and heartfelt journey of a motherless man; a grieving man, and a one-eyed dog. If you are a reader, you’ll be a better reader for having read it. If you are a writer, you’ll be a better one for having read it. If you haven’t read it, do it.

Publisher details Here

The Librarian’s Cellar: Orla McAlinden Reviews ‘After the Lockout’ by Darran McCann

A series of guest reviews on inspiring work, old and new: Orla McAlinden reviews After the Lockout by Darran McCann

Most debut authors could only dream of having a cover quote on their first novel from Hilary Mantel, and here’s what she has to say about After the Lockout: “A wonderful novel…deeply intelligent and self-aware…entertaining…” I’d have to agree with her, it’s all of those things.

The early chapters are set in the Montgomery Street brothel district of Dublin in 1917, in a city that is wracked with social and political strife. The “Lockout” of 1913 looms large in the past, when the commercial and manufacturing heart was torn out of the city’s working class by the ruthless crushing of a mass campaign of strike action against starvation wages and job insecurity. For a detailed fictional account of the Lockout, you can’t get better than James Plunkett’s “Strumpet City”, but McCann explains enough of the bare bones of the history to allow a reader to grasp the severity and the cruelty of the crushing of Dublin’s nascent Labour movement.

The remainder of the narrative then moves to the village of Madden in Armagh, whence the protagonist, Victor Lennon, has fled, 10 years previously, after the suicide of his mother, and the refusal of the local Catholic hierarchy to grant her a Christian burial. Victor is a socialist, a Marxist, a veteran of the Lockout and much more importantly as far as the almost exclusively Catholic population of Madden is concerned, a veteran of the Easter Rising of 12 months earlier and a hero of Irish Republicanism.

Is Victor going to find out that his idea of a socialist, secular republic doesn’t suit the notions of the orthodox Catholic population of Madden?

The male characters in this novel are well drawn and well realised. I particularly enjoyed the character of Bishop Stanislaus Benedict, who I was feared was going to be yet another in a long line of Irish Catholic Priests I have read recently, upon whose malevolent shoulders rests every ill in Ireland since the marriage of Aoife and Strongbow. Instead, he reveals himself as a very complex, well developed character, with his own history of suffering, and a large dollop of compassion, although administered severely, and tempered with the morals and mores of his time. There is no doubt that the Catholic Church is the villain in this novel, but the character of the Churchman himself is nuanced and sensitive.

There are really only three female characters, unless we count the deceased mother of Lennon, and I think it’s understandable, given the nature and the topic of the novel that there are more men than women. I like the put-upon housekeeper in the Parochial House, she’s bursting with authenticity. The contrast between the two other females is rather too black-and-white.

I learned a lot from this book, in a very enjoyable way. There is a plethora of fiction relating to the 1916 rising, and to the Civil War, but this is the first novel I have read dealing specifically with the period of ratcheting tension prior to the War of Independence. Although Victor sometimes speaks a lot of exposition, and occasionally speaks like a political pamphlet, I can’t think of any other way that so much political history and background could have been included in a work of fiction, and I know I benefitted from having certain elements of the backstory explicitly explained, even if it made the dialogue occasionally clunky.

Highly recommended.

Publisher details for After the Lockout Here

 

Orla McAlinden is an Irish writer and book fanatic. Her debut collection of short stories The Accidental Wife will be published by Sowilo Press, Philadelphia in August 2016 and her novel The Flight of the Wren was chosen for presentation at the Greenbean Novel Fair, 2016. Orla is the recipient of the Cecil Day Lewis Emerging Writers Bursary. and blogs about books and writing at www.orlamcalinden.com

 

 

 

From the Librarian’s Cellar: Eggshells

“Vivian doesn’t feel like she fits in – never has. She lives alone in a house in North Dublin that her great aunt left to her. She has no friends, no job and few social skills.”

So is she an interesting character? Is there enough going on for us to stick with Vivian for two hundred and fifty-three pages?

Absolutely. Yes.

Caitriona Lally’s debut novel is a delight.  Vivian is different, her circumstances cryptically threaded into the subtext. Nothing is explained, nor should it be, on this whimsical, darkly comical journey through the streets of Dublin and from the point of view of a deeply engaging, and deliciously quirky protagonist. Fascinated by words and obsessed with making lists, Vivian believing that she is not of this world, looks for magic in the everyday things, and who doesn’t need a bit of magic?

One for the Librarian’s shelf, Eggshells is published by Liberties Press. 2015