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The Long Gaze Back

The Long Gaze Back ~ Sinead Gleeson

A refreshing selection of short stories by Irish female writers.

A gem of an anthology, which I could tell the editor, Sinead Gleeson, laboured over. Not only is this a collection of stories by an all-female cast but it is a clever reflection on the evolution of the short story itself.

I can’t be certain, but as far as I could tell, the stories were all arranged by sequence of the ages of their authors. So, you begin by reading a short story written by an Irish female author, which is some three decades old and you end with one written by the youngest contemporary. I found this transition and variety in the telling of a short tale rather interesting, not to take away from the fact that all the stories are excellent.

There is a common theme of course that binds them all together – tragedy, I suppose.

If I had to pick, which I can easily do, since I cannot claim that I enjoyed all the stories equally; Eimer Ryan, Mary Costello and Bernie McGill’s were the strongest. Some of the earlier ones didn’t quite appeal to me, but that is perhaps because my taste in short stories has evolved into a more modern structure.

Why you should read it:

  • For the reader of short stories, this book is a gem
  • There is something for every kind of reader

Why you shouldn’t read it:

  • This is a collection consisting of a variety of styles, so you may not enjoy every story