Cabbage and Bones: An Anthology of Irish-American Women's Fiction

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9780805052008: Cabbage and Bones: An Anthology of Irish-American Women's Fiction

In this affecting anthology of fiction by Irish-American women, the voices of some of our most important writers are finally celebrated. These 25 pieces, more than half of which have never before been published in book form, include selections by such established, award-winning authors as Anna Quindlen, Alice McDermott, Mary McCarthy, and Mary McGarry Morris, as well as promising newcomers.

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Review:

Tucked away in Cabbage and Bones is a clutch of compelling, neatly polished stories published by Irish American women writing between 1938 and 1997. The earliest tale, "Noel Coward and Mrs. Griffin," is a great bit of old-fashioned, wide-eyed fun. In it, two sweetly hell-raising sisters appall sanctimonious neighbors with such exploits as burying their doll Joe in the garden on Good Friday. As their infuriated father digs it up late Saturday night, the younger girl moans tearfully, "He'll rise tomorrow and you won't have to trouble." Later stories echo different sentiments: bleak depression, black humor, and an enjoyable sentimentality that teeters on mawkishness. Binding ties of religion and family are spotlighted and politics run passionate or wry. "'Better to be a communist when you're poor, right? What's to lose?'" says the father of the 17-year-old who narrates "How Ireland Lost the World Cup."

From Kirkus Reviews:

A startling, useful gathering of 25 stories by both familiar and overlooked Irish-American women writers. There's an intriguing continuity to the collection, which ranges from the work of the now little-known writers Ruth McKenney (``Noel Coward and Mrs. Griffin''), Mary Doyle Curran (represented by an excerpt from The Parish and the Hill), and Mary Deasy (an excerpt from Hour of Spring), active in the 1930s and '40s, up to such promising young writers as Eileen Fitzgerald (``Pork Chops''), Annie Callan (``How Ireland Lost the World Cup''), and Erin McGraw (``Daily Affirmations''). Maureen Howard in her foreword suggests that this continuity has to do both with a confessional frankness in the telling, as well as with the unblinking realism with which Irish- American women have always faced the challenging particulars of life in the US. Editor Kearns has assembled an impressive group of tales, and also illuminated an overlooked tradition. -- Copyright 1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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