Irish Stories For Christmas

Irish Stories For Christmas by John B. Keane. Niwot, CO: Roberts Rinehart Publishers, 1994. ISBN 1-57098-050-0 $1.0.95 151 pp

A good story is a good story at any time of the year, and that is true of this collection.
There are 13 stories in the book, ranging in length from three to fifteen pages. All re written by Keane, an Irishplaywrigt, who may best known on this of the Atlantic for his play The Field which was made into a movie starring John Hurt and Richard Harris.

These are not Christmas stories in the traditional sense. They do not focus on the holiday and its rituals of gift giving, they focus, rather, on the characters, and their lives as they happen to unfold in the Christmas season. And yet they are traditional because the stories, full of humour and quirkiness and idiosyncrasy, are also the stories of love and generosity and sacrifice.

You will meet a loving old couple whose annual purification fracas draws a hidden audience of neighbours. You'll meet poachers, and drinkers, pigeons and priests. You'll find a cat cooked in the soup, a ghostly attack, and a surprise in a Christmas Eve turf. In each and every story you'll meet country folk so truly written that you will know their characters as well as you know your neighbours. This book is a treasure of offbeat stories which nevertheless embody the spirit of Christmas. Buy it for yourself, or give it as a gift. Roberts Rinehart Publishers, 5455 Spine Road, Mezzanine West, Boulder Colorado 80301 1-800-352-1985

The Second Story Review, Vol 1, No. 3, September 1996
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