An Author in Complete Control of Her Work

Maeve Brennan is an amazing writer. I've lingered over this book of short stories for so long a time, in part because other things intruded, but mostly because I don't want to let go.  I really enjoy spending time in her world.  Her work reminds me (a little) of the few short stories I've read by Elizabeth Bowen--work I care for far more than I did The Death of the Heart.

To give you a sense of why I find so much good in Maeve Brennan, just glance at the excerpt below.

from "The Poor Men and Women"
in The Springs of Affection
Maeve Brennan

There must have been a time when he knocked on all the doors of the terrace to find out who was open to him, but for years now he had come straight to her. His feet slapped the pavement inoffensively as he went along. He begged in silence. She kept thinking he might say something to her, but he never did. One time she threw a friendly remark after him, and he turned back so confused that she was ashamed. It was a long time before she tried to speak to him again. No matter what the weather was like, he appeared at the door on the dot. Even on the worst days of winter he did not spare her, but stood before her, shivering, dripping, shrinking, and smiling, with his cap and his shoulders black from the rain, and his upraised hand turned to flaming glass by the wet and cold.

I am taken aback by the power of this prose to evoke, by the beauty of the language, and by the detail of the observation.  Maeve Brennan has of recent date become one of my favorite writers.  And there you have it, the Irish still rule--amongst my favorites: James Joyce, William Butler Yeats, Oscar Wilde, William Trevor, Maeve Brennan, Elizabeth Bowen (at least the short stories), and the list continues always to increase.


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