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    One great short story to read today:
    Kevin Barry’s “Finistère”

    Drew Broussard

    May 22, 2024, 10:30am

    According to the powers that be (er, apparently according to Dan Wickett of the Emerging Writers Network), May is Short Story Month. To celebrate, for the second year in a row, the Literary Hub staff will be recommending a single short story, free* to read online, every (work) day of the month. Why not read along with us? Today, we recommend:

    “Finistère” by Kevin Barry

    I discovered Kevin Barry just before his third book (Dark Lies the Island) came out and immediately fell in love with his particular lyrical Irish voice and vibe and spirit. He is, for my money, one of the best writers working today. He’s like a really good drummer or bass player: he knows when to let the rhythm take over, and when he can put on a firmer hand to guide it where he wants it. His sentences practically demand to be spoken aloud. This is his latest (come for the puckish voice, stay for the cultural references) but the man hasn’t written a bad story yet—and his next novel, out this summer, should be a stunner too.

    The story begins:

    The big man was in a condition of thrilling remorse. He was brokenhearted again at fifty-five and loving it. He leaned against the rail on the top deck of the Cork-Roscoff ferry and shook woefully from side to side his heavy, handsome ginger head and the cries of a seal pup rose softly from the hollows of his chest. Sylvia had been abandoned that morning in County Clare and would get over him before the leaves were off the trees; Cian John Wynn would never get over himself. He raised his head and wiped away the tears and watched Ireland recede into the afternoon haze and he prayed that it would stay there. He knew it would be a long time before he went home again.

    Read it here.

    *If you hit a paywall, we recommend trying with a different/private/incognito browser (but listen, you didn’t hear it from us).

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