THE MISSING POSTMAN AND OTHER STORIES

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Upcoming review:

SHORT STORIES REVIEW The Missing Postman and Other Stories

The Co Waterford-born novelist and playwright, Tom O’Brien is still on a very productive streak, and not only has he had two plays produced in London this year, but he has brought out another novel, a book of three Waterford plays, and now a new book of short stories – The Missing Postman and Other Stories. His output is impressive and the work paints a wonderful picture of an Ireland that is quirky and malevolent, as well as giving a wonderful sense of place and time. I am surprised he is not a tourist attraction, and that no Waterford theatre company has scheduled a production of his. What is it about a prophet and his home place?

These stories read like notes to plays, and some are charged with characters and menace, as in the novella-length, The Missing Postman, that looks at the crazy world of Zeb and Zoe, who come to Ireland (Co Waterford) to avenge, separate, unhappy childhoods, and go on a ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ robbery spree. They hide out in a curious cottage of Martin Og, who has surprises in the house of a high-tech nature.

In a chilling exploration that is full of tension and foreboding, the mysterious disappearance of Martin Og’s brother – The Postman of the title is remembered.

In Johnjo’s Tale, we get the sense of emigration and isolation, laced with the sickly nostalgia, for songs of an era of regret, heartache, and rights to property, keeping emigrants forever looking back to the old homestead. This notion of family possessions is forcefully brought home in a very short -The Dispossessed – where the message is driven home (pardon the pun) – you can never go back. Home is not and perhaps, never was, what you desperately wanted it to be.

The Homecoming, is another pithy story where the landscape of memory and the physical landscape of a Hill was quarried away to create a sense of false prosperity. For those who will come to know (and I sincerely hope so) Tom O’Brien as a fine playwright (which he is), these short stories will be viewed as source material into his themes and motivations. But they read as stories in their own right, full of human and bitter honesty, and full of dramatic tension and excitement.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Missing-Postman-Other-Stories/dp/1494463814/ref=la_B0034OIGOQ_1_11?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1416147882&sr=1-11

LACKENDARA

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LACKENDARA

Ah Lackendara
You heard the voices too
At Paschendaele where you
Cowered as the big guns
Bombarded your world to silence
Blasted your thoughts to kingdom come
And left you forlorn
On that ragged outcrop
In the foothills of the Comeraghs
The fox and the curlew your only companions
The gurgling Mahon Falls
All there was to quench your thirst.
For thirty years you trod those hills
Taking little notice
Of ordinary life around you going on
Your presence on the mountain a constant reminder
Of mans’ inhumanity to man.

THE SHINY RED HONDA…read first chapter

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THE SHINY RED HONDA

Chapter one

I was thirteen tall and gangly when I first pulled on long trousers. What a relief that was; I was the longest streak of misery you were ever likely to see in the short ones. It was my last year at the National school in Newtown and the Master used every opportunity to drag me around the classroom shouting “just because you wear long trousers now O’ Brien, don’t think it makes you any smarter”. I wasn’t and it didn’t, but the Master was a law unto himself so I just kept my gob shut. There were discussions about what, if any, further education I was to get. Dungarvan was out I heard my father say; it was too far away and the fares were too expensive. That only left the ‘Tech in Portlaw – and that seemed to totter from one financial crisis to the next.
We were poor I guess; no running water, no toilets, to TV, no car…you name it we didn’t have it. But then, money wasn’t as important as it is nowadays. If you had enough to live on you were doing well. If you didn’t you wouldn’t starve because the countryside was abundant in most of the things needed to survive. Even the poorest cottage had half an acre of land attached, and enough spuds, cabbage and other vegetables could be grown to keep a family from the poorhouse. Hens provided eggs every day, a pig could be fattened and killed; and if you couldn’t afford turf or coal, well, there was plenty of wood scattered about… Continue reading

LOVE POEM FROM BONMAHON

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LOVE POEM FROM BONMAHON

God in his heaven never bettered this;
Never hit perfection more square-on.
Rugged cliffs lip the strand,
Opening to fields behind,
The Atlantic, white-layered,
Sweeping into the bay,
Its hurry washed-out
By the tug of sand, gently rising,
Before it.

A tangle of marram crowns the dunes,
Tousled, like windswept hair;
Whilst, on the slopes nearby,
A line of white cottages
Vie for prominence with the old church

Yet, it is the call of the waves
That steals most of the aces;
Those riderless white horses
Sweeping relentlessly in,
With their whispering lisps;
‘I love you, please don’t go,
I love you please don’t go’

And I, watching the ebb-tide dragging them back,
Silently mouthing in their wake;
‘She loves me, she loves me not,
She loves me, she loves me not…’

THE SHINY RED HONDA – AMAZON REVIEW

19-01-2014 11;22;17
THE SHINY RED HONDA review
A wonderful coming-of-age story set in the Ireland of the late fifties and early sixties,The Shiny Red Honda evokes images of a more innocent time, when life was lived at a more gentle pace and people were stoical in the face of hardship, taking the bad with the good as simply part of life’s cycle. Tom O’Brien’s writing is stark and vivid and straight to the point, but always tempered with a wry humour, never taking himself too seriously. We travel with him through his upbringing on a small-holding in County Waterford, sometimes hard, but mostly carefree, and then his emergence from fumbling adolescent to a young working man who played guitar in his spare time in the newly emerging pop/rock band scene of that era. Tom describes everything so beautifully that I found myself re-reading some pages, just for the sheer joy of it. This is one of the best autobiographical books I’ve read in ages, if not THE best, and I can’t wait to read more of Tom O’Brien’s work.
› Go to Amazon.com to see the review 5.0 out of 5 stars