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Old 12-19-2013, 09:54 AM   #31
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University College Cork has developed the Frank O'Connor Research Website. It has an interesting biography section, audio & videos, etc. The link to an old Paris Review interview under Online Resources is very interesting.

http://frankoconnor.ucc.ie/index.php?teanga=
http://www.theparisreview.org/interv...-frank-oconnor
It's amazing how one can miss things close to home. I went to UCC as did my daughter and neither of us knew about those websites! Thanks for sharing them!
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Old 12-19-2013, 12:02 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by Bookworm_Girl View Post
University College Cork has developed the Frank O'Connor Research Website. It has an interesting biography section, audio & videos, etc. The link to an old Paris Review interview under Online Resources is very interesting.

http://frankoconnor.ucc.ie/index.php?teanga=
http://www.theparisreview.org/interv...-frank-oconnor
Thank you! The Paris Review interview was fascinating.
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Old 12-21-2013, 11:32 AM   #33
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"The Study of History" is another gem. The visit to the father's old flame is amazing and so, so funny! But that wonderful final line in the story is utter magic.
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Old 12-23-2013, 10:03 AM   #34
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I'm over halfway through the book (just finished "Pity") and enjoying it very much. My favourites so far are still the first - the ones having to do with children. He really has a knack for the child's perspective. I really loved all of "The Genius", "My Oedipus Complex" and "First Confession". My biggest laugh so far was in First Confession - when he's in confession and mistakenly climbs up on the ledge in the dark had me in stitches.

I guess I'm one of the few (the only one?) besides fantasyfan to get my hands on a copy of the hard-to-find book, so I thought I'd share pic of it:



But reading the thread is having me wanting to read stories not in the book that some of you are mentioning, so I may be searching them out as well.
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Old 12-23-2013, 07:02 PM   #35
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My feeling is that anything Frank O'Connor wrote is worth reading, so I certainly recommend your getting hold of other collections of his short stories if you can. I am now reading my way through The Best of and haven't been disappointed by anything in there that I have read.

I do agree that the childhood stories are absolutely delightful and hilarious in the way he gets the child's voice and interpretation of things so spot on. I'm with you on "First Confession" - the bit where he climbs up on the ledge and then has to hang off it to talk to the priest is an image I treasure. But I really admire the more serious stories about adults too, and keep thinking about them after I have finished them.
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Old 12-25-2013, 06:44 PM   #36
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NPR's program "Selected Shorts" which features various people, some of them celebrities, reading short stories before a live audience.
Their Christmas program features a reading of Frank O'Connor's "Christmas Morning".

http://www.selectedshorts.org/2013/1...ane-kaczmarek/

Last edited by BenG; 12-25-2013 at 06:52 PM.
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Old 12-25-2013, 08:21 PM   #37
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Although this is not in the "set text", I just had to share this bit of Irishness which is included in The Best of, in an article from Holiday magazine:

Quote:
I know one Englishman who thinks the world begins and ends in a certain parish in Donegal, where, on Christmas Eve, the police politely sent up word to the pub where he was staying that they would have to raid it at eleven, and would the customers mind going across the fields to another pub which they wouldn't be raiding until half past eleven. So at eleven all the customers trooped over the fields in the darkness, and at half past eleven back they came after collecting the customers from the other pub, and at midnight the police solemnly retired to their barracks with the whiskey thoughtfully supplied by the two publicans.
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Old 12-26-2013, 11:43 AM   #38
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I finished the book and thought it was wonderful. It really felt like a glimpse into early and mid-century County Cork. Judging by a few stories, O'Connor doesn't seem all that fond of Kerry, does he?

The stories were often so perceptive and the endings very well done and natural. I found another favourite in "The Paragon" - also dealing with a child (at first) but this one more serious than the other more comedic ones. Also the scenes and atmosphere in the story Uprooted were evocative.

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...I really admire the more serious stories about adults too, and keep thinking about them after I have finished them.
Good point!
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Old 12-26-2013, 05:46 PM   #39
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I've finished it, too, and found it wonderful as well. More than the stories centred on childhood, though, I was struck by those dealing with more mature characters, priesthood and death.
As an undercurrent, the two characters present in almost all the stories were religion and drink (Fish for Friday probably the pinnacle in this last respect) - this seems to fit the Irish stereotype that I perceive here in the UK, but I do wonder how truly representative of the time the drunken vignettes in the stories are.
Guests of the nation still haunts me: though it is not the first story/novel I read dealing with this issue, the precision of O'Connor in drawing perfect pictures with such few strokes is amazing to me, and of course is what makes all the difference.
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Old 12-26-2013, 07:03 PM   #40
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In many ways, I see the alcoholism and despair as symptoms of a defeated and badly damaged people, very much in evidence when you look at other dispossessed groups such as Native American and Australian Aboriginal peoples.
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Old 12-27-2013, 09:02 PM   #41
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In many ways, I see the alcoholism and despair as symptoms of a defeated and badly damaged people, very much in evidence when you look at other dispossessed groups such as Native American and Australian Aboriginal peoples.
A brilliant observation!
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Old 12-31-2013, 06:46 AM   #42
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In between the holidays/birthdays and more, I'm reading Frank O'Connor and James Joyce. I hope to finish those somewhere next week and give my observations.


My best wishes for the coming New Year to all members of the Bookclub.
May you have all that you wish for and many good books to read.
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Old 12-31-2013, 07:17 AM   #43
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My best wishes for the coming New Year to all members of the Bookclub.
May you have all that you wish for and many good books to read.
Thanks, and from me too my best wishes for the coming year to all members of the book club! Thanks for all the great book proposals in 2013!
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Old 12-31-2013, 11:54 AM   #44
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Thanks desertblues and Billi, and same to you and everyone else for the new year!

I purchased the ebook "Best Of" specifically to read "Guests of the Nation" seeing the lauds here, but also so I'd have more of his stories to read for another time. I think Guests of the Nation may be the best of all the stories I've read of his.
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Old 12-31-2013, 12:32 PM   #45
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I had to give The Collected Works back to the library before finishing it (this nomad is moving on to a new location), but I did read the stories from this month's selection. I read all of The Best of and rated it 5 stars. It will definitely be re-read. I'll be looking for the remaining stories and absolutely everything else I can find written by Frank O'Connor. Thank you so much, fantasyfan, for introducing him to us.

May all of you have a bright and happy new year with many more amazing book discoveries.
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