Tales from the Irish Club: A Collection of Short Stories

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9780873385398: Tales from the Irish Club: A Collection of Short Stories

Tales from the Irish Club contains 11 wry accounts of an enclave of Irish Americans in Pittsburgh during and after World War II.  In this first collection of short stories by Lester Goran are the often comic, sometimes tragic tales of Jack Lanahan, the transcendental artist who carves nothing but wooden roosters; Long Conall O’Brien, haunted by the ghosts of prostitutes he has known world-wide; Mrs. Pauline Conlon, famous as the woman who outlives three husbands―until she meets Sailor Kiernan; and the night an image of the Madonna appears on the wall of Local No. 9 of the Ancient Order of Hibernians.

Ranging from the grimly realistic to the fantastic, Goran’s stories examine lives so unheralded that only the Irish Club, Forbes Field―where the Pirates break their hearts, and St. Agnes Church―where they attend school and prepare for eternity―know their joys and sorrows.

“Tales from the Irish Club presents a group of stories so well imagined that one can hardly tell them apart from life...They are meant to overheard, not heard, as if the reader were a child at a wedding eavesdropping on someone’s loquacious, slightly drunken aunt...I abandoned the Hibernian world of Lester Goran’s Pittsburgh with a sense of loss. Closing his book felt like driving away from my own boyhood city after a large Thanksgiving dinner, with improbable stories still echoing in my head. Tales from the Irish Club is a memorable work.”New York Times Book Review

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About the Author:

Lester Goran is a professor of English at the University of Miami. His other publications include The Bright Streets of Surfside: The Memoir of a Friendship with Isaac Bashevis Singer (1994), She Love Me Once and Other Stories (1997), Outlaws of the Purple Cow and Other Stories (1999), and nine novels, including Mrs. Beautiful, The Demon in the Sun Parlor, and The Keeper of Secrets.

From Kirkus Reviews:

A first collection from veteran Goran (a memoir, The Bright Streets of Surfside, 1994, etc.) consists of 11 low-key stories set in and around an old neighborhood hangout--the Irish Club--where the locals get together to drink, to dance, and always to talk. The locale is working-class Pittsburgh in the years following WW II, a period when the fires from the steel mills still lit up the skies and jobs were plentiful. The mostly male habitu‚s of the club, founded by the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Local No. 9, have known one another from boyhood--``they entered as children, put on years, wrinkles, and emerged on other spring evenings decades later accomplished drunkards.'' Protagonists are mostly Irish-Americans, though a Jewish neighbor, Clifton, is the narrator in several stories, including ``A Girl Like Sheila,'' ``The Madonna of the Jukebox,'' and ``The Road to Damascus,'' in which, respectively, Jimmy McKenna, a veteran obsessed with Sheila, a young woman, ends up being hospitalized for his violent behavior; an image of a woman, perhaps the Madonna, appears on the wall behind the club's jukebox, only to be painted over by the exasperated barkeeper, tired of the crowd sitting and watching it; and Neil, a noted philanderer, describes how he lost Deirdre when a friend of his waylaid her on her way to an assignation with him and told her she was ``too young to make decisions that'll stay with you forever.'' In other notable pieces, Conall O'Brien, who loves prostitutes, can't forget them even when he marries (``The Payment''); and Jack Lanahan, the high school art teacher, finds his ecstasy-inducing ``visits'' from the past more meaningful than his belated success as a sculptor (``The Last Visit''). A gritty and vibrantly ethnic Pittsburgh is the liveliest presence here. Otherwise, Goran's tales fail to strike a fresh note, seeming more like set-pieces with unsurprising characters behaving in predictable ways. -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Book Description Kent State University Press, United States, 1996. Paperback. Book Condition: New. New.. Language: English . Brand New Book. Tales from the Irish Club contains 11 wry accounts of an enclave of Irish Americans in Pittsburgh during and after World War II. In this first collection of short stories by Lester Goran are the often comic, sometimes tragic tales of Jack Lanahan, the transcendental artist who carves nothing but wooden roosters; Long Conall O Brien, haunted by the ghosts of prostitutes he has known world-wide; Mrs. Pauline Conlon, famous as the woman who outlives three husbands--until she meets Sailor Kiernan; and the night an image of the Madonna appears on the wall of Local No. 9 of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. Ranging from the grimly realistic to the fantastic, Goran s stories examine lives so unheralded that only the Irish Club, Forbes Field--where the Pirates break their hearts, and St. Agnes Church--where they attend school and prepare for eternity--know their joys and sorrows. Tales from the Irish Club presents a group of stories so well imagined that one can hardly tell them apart from life.They are meant to overheard, not heard, as if the reader were a child at a wedding eavesdropping on someone s loquacious, slightly drunken aunt.I abandoned the Hibernian world of Lester Goran s Pittsburgh with a sense of loss. Closing his book felt like driving away from my own boyhood city after a large Thanksgiving dinner, with improbable stories still echoing in my head. Tales from the Irish Club is a memorable work. --New York Times Book Review. Bookseller Inventory # AAN9780873385398

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Book Description Kent State University Press, United States, 1996. Paperback. Book Condition: New. New.. Language: English . Brand New Book. Tales from the Irish Club contains 11 wry accounts of an enclave of Irish Americans in Pittsburgh during and after World War II. In this first collection of short stories by Lester Goran are the often comic, sometimes tragic tales of Jack Lanahan, the transcendental artist who carves nothing but wooden roosters; Long Conall O Brien, haunted by the ghosts of prostitutes he has known world-wide; Mrs. Pauline Conlon, famous as the woman who outlives three husbands--until she meets Sailor Kiernan; and the night an image of the Madonna appears on the wall of Local No. 9 of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. Ranging from the grimly realistic to the fantastic, Goran s stories examine lives so unheralded that only the Irish Club, Forbes Field--where the Pirates break their hearts, and St. Agnes Church--where they attend school and prepare for eternity--know their joys and sorrows. Tales from the Irish Club presents a group of stories so well imagined that one can hardly tell them apart from life.They are meant to overheard, not heard, as if the reader were a child at a wedding eavesdropping on someone s loquacious, slightly drunken aunt.I abandoned the Hibernian world of Lester Goran s Pittsburgh with a sense of loss. Closing his book felt like driving away from my own boyhood city after a large Thanksgiving dinner, with improbable stories still echoing in my head. Tales from the Irish Club is a memorable work. --New York Times Book Review. Bookseller Inventory # AAN9780873385398

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