Fables of the Irish Intelligentsia

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9780140173246: Fables of the Irish Intelligentsia

The intelligentsia of the title are not just academics, but outsiders, people who do not quite fit in with normal life or normal behaviour. In all her stories, the author mocks the English image of the Irish as slightly mad.

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From Publishers Weekly:

The characters in this uniformly excellent first collection of short stories inhabit a strange world where people sing folk songs in Sanskrit and Shakespeare's Hamlet has Celtic origins. Fitzpatrick offers a dozen ribald and hilarious modern fables that revel in the self-professed eccentricity of the Irish people. The brief prologue reveals an annual convocation of lunatics who come together on the Irish coast to eat watercress, drink holy water and celebrate their lunacy. Fitzpatrick's protagonists, too, display a fine madness. Finnula so desperately wants to lose her virginity that she surrenders it to a brisk Englishman and in the process confirms the "English disease," a malady characterized by fear of children and a craving for dragons. Slattery is an unrepentant Marxist who is so upset by the fall of the Sandinistas and the collapse of Soviet governments in Eastern Europe that he must trick his frigid mother into giving him a reassuring touch. Controversy surrounds Fitzpatrick: Having been selected for the the Irish Times /Aer Lingus Prize, she lost it amid rumors that she is not only not Irish but also a man. The claims will strike readers as incredible. The stories reflect a sensibility not only female but patently Irish.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

Fitzpatrick's slight, clever sketches present sophisticated Irish characters searching for meaning in contemporary life. In "A Free Man," Bernard Slattery, Sanskrit professor and "seeker on the Path," has a nervous breakdown, after which he can get away with anything since everyone thinks he's crazy. "My Last Chance" concerns another character looking for enlightenment who goes to see Bernard Slattery's Swami but is disappointed when the Swami seems all too human (he has a cold). Renowned poet A. T. Harrington has depended for years on a farmer's wife to write his "masculine" poems for him in "In the Company of Frauds." "An Unusual Couple" is a playful ghost story, while "Genius Loci" concerns a woman who moves constantly to find just the right house but is never satisfied. Employing sly wit and dazzlingly inventive wordplay, Fitzpatrick lampoons priests, poets, and visionaries, but her meager plots and one-dimensional characters make for unsatisfying fiction. Recommended for large collections only.
- Patricia Ross, Westerville P.L., Ohio
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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