Jul 122012
 

This is the story of a fifteen- year old boy, called Charley, who is on an epic journey to try to save ‘Lean on Pete’ the horse.  While he is working at the race-track for a tyrannical horse trainer, Charley is dismayed to learn that Lean on Pete is going to be put down and decides that he is going to do everything he can to save him.   When his father is murdered and he is left with no family, home or money, he sets off on a journey to try to find his aunt in Oregon, and brings Lean on Pete with him.  He gets by stealing food, hitching lifts and picking up odd jobs.

Written in an informal, straightforward style in the first person, it is a story that captures the reader and carries you along, with a strong attachment for the central character.  If you are looking for something with a readable, gripping story, then this is a good choice.

Jul 122012
 

This is a debut collection of short stories by this Irish author, who was admired for her submissions to the Stinging Fly literary magazine, and then subsequently published this title through Stinging Fly Press. The stories center mainly around Irish rural themes and middle-aged people experiencing marriage and life crises.

Well-written, with a soft narrative style similar to Claire Keegan and William Trevor, there is, at times, a real beauty in the capture of characters. As the themes are quite similar, without the refreshment of more optimistic tones, perhaps it is a collection that can be enjoyed more by going back to the individual stories one at a time and appreciating them in a stand-alone environment. If you are looking for literary short stories along Irish themes, it is definitely going to deliver.